5 years ago, if someone had told me that I would be cooking dinners for my family daily today, I would have laughed it off. I would have told you that it was impossible, as I had done so when someone asked if I would be a mother, and if I would even have a second child. As it seemed, becoming a mother showed me how humble pies should be eaten.
One pie at a time.
It was not without pressure that I ended up doing what I did today. The pressure came from my perfectionist-but-claimed-she-was-not mom. I would lament how difficult it was to cook. I used to volunteer washing dishes during Home Economics classes because I was afraid of the splattering oil. I was 13/14. I would lament how I had no time to cook because I would rather be sipping happy hours martinis than to attempt something so challenging.
I also did not know how to buy vegetables and meat from supermarket. I did not know how to do many things with regards to cooking.
Mr H also thought it was perfectly fine.
Until Z turned one year old and this little boy loved his rice with soups. Bundled with some experience from cooking baby puree, I tried my hand at cooking. I also had my mother who took the time to bring me to my nearest wet market for orientation. We learnt how to buy groceries from wet market because certain products such as fish were so much cheaper and fresher than supermarkets. Actually, once you started off with the right ingredients, it did not matter how you cook (as long as you did not burn the food, overcook or undercook), the food would taste pretty good.
My initial wet market experiences were scary. I looked at the formidable dialect speaking aunties spewing their orders with confidence. I only stood dumbly as one after another auntie cut my queue. I supposed the fishmonger felt bad for me because he would shout, “Ah girl, what you want?” I would fret over how to handle the monies because it was obviously suicidal to use my Chanel wallet. Despite owning so many wallets and coin pouches, I did not have a suitable money holder for wet market’s use. He might have offered me a plastic bag.
Well, the main thing was we all learnt. Today, Mr H would be the wet-market goer because we had established a buying relationship with the market vendors, mainly due to parking reasons. With an oversubscribed parking situation, it would be wiser for Mr H to drive instead of me since I had a smashing history of knocking into stationary objects in the carpark.
So Mr H was the operations guy, while I did the food planning. I would usually plan what to cook for weekday evenings and rejoice when it was Friday. Cooking at home was not cheaper because I typically spent about $50 – $70 per week on ingredients to cook 5-6 meals. By the time you factored in labour cost, home cooked food surely did not come cheap, but at a higher quality and value.