chips n gravy

about the blogger…

i-has-a-melonAlthough I considered myself quite well read at times, I find that when it comes to writing, I struggle at being able to produce pristine, well thought out posts. Whenever I came across well written blogs by other bloggers, I really wonder why I cannot express myself as well as they do.

So, I fancy myself a somewhat witty person.  I was trained in French cuisine predominantly and most importantly, I love food.  Just cooking great food was not enough for me, I wanted to really understand food and each individual components that made a dish or even any dish great. Why caramelisation happened, what really went on in there? Why sugars cooked to different degrees can have different properties. With the advent of a army of new age technology and science savvy chefs, it really perked my curiosity about really understanding ingredients and the way they behave. Chemistry answered all that and more. So, armed with knowledge in chemistry, I like to explore ideas about food based on sound science.

My experience with cooking came at a very young age. Although I did not start to cook until my teenage years, (started with ramyeun and fried eggs) I had a very good introduction to it due to my very formidable paternal grandmother.

I was a trained chef as mentioned and I specialised in Garde Manger. Not your typical pantry, but French Garde Manger; terrine, smoked items, pates, and the lot. If I can make it myself, I will make it myself. But I always harbour ambitions as a patissier, even apprenticed as one once upon a time, but I find that when compared to the other pastry cooks and chefs and looking at them, I find that I do not have natural talent when it comes to pastry. But, at home, it has not deterred me from making them. Garde Manger in a sense, found me rather than the other way round. It was not I was too much a wimp for the hot side, but somehow, wherever I worked, because I am fussy and sometimes bordering on OCD on how the plate should be, cleanliness and all, I always somehow took over the pantry side.

My grandmother is an amazing woman. Forced to marry at the age of 14 during the war to a man she never even met before, and becoming a widow before 30 years of age with young children, she really toughen up for the only daughter of a rich grocery store owner. With nothing except her pride, and the assistance of my great grandmother, she would go out and bring the laundry home and washes them to earn meagre income to feed a 9 person household. Later on, because she was excellent in her cooking skills, she was hired as a cook.

From not knowing a single word of English and Japanese, she slowly learn the languages and the cooking. As typical of women her era, everything has to be made from scratch, if that is not possible, she would not consider making them.

Hence, for the first 10 years of my childhood, the clanging of woks, sounds of the mortar and pestle pounding away, and the smell of cooking permeating the house remained some of my fondest memories of my grandmother. She is a very proud woman, and sadly, with age, came those old people diseases. Faded eyesight, osteoporosis and the horrible dementia took over her. I regret not learning all of her repetoire and now it will be lost as with most Asians, the recipes are passed down verbally rather than written.

And so I hope this, will be a record of what I have learnt, tried and thought about. Just in case, should I forgot about it someday.


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