When culinary skills were distributed on earth, my sister took all my share in our family. She had always whipped up wonderful recipes even with meager supplies I had always been a flop in the kitchen, and as much as possible I stay out of it. (I eatr at the sala, infront of the television, if that’s any consideration).
My sister has the knack to organize available time and supplies to help create wonderful, aromatic, memorable meals without even the excuse of a birthday, anniversary or a holiday.
If you smell the scent of onions and garlic sizzling in a skillet or the wafts of a succulent chicken roasting, or see a batch of newly-cooked spaghetti cooling in the refrigerator, my sister is in the kitchen. (Mama’s a vegetarian)
Living away from home since highschool has tempered my body to live and survive on noodles, fried eggs, and restaurant foods everyday. How can I find the time to cook great meals on a daily basis and still keep up with the hectic pace of a nocturnal being’s lifestyle?
That’s a good question! I sleep between 2 to 3 a.m. and wake up at 9 to 10 a.m., meaning I always missed and flunked classes scheduled early morning so how else could I find time to cook? But the truth is if I were to cook my meals, by the time I would have managed to cook up something, my appetite would be gone.
Back in highschool centuries ago, we joined a three-day camping in our school grounds for our Citizen Army Training. It meant leaving the comforts of our beds in our boarding houses to sleep on the hard earth cramped inside our tents.
Among the houserules was the distribution of responsibilities within members of our team.
I dreaded the kitchen chore most because although I could cook rice and basic viands when there’s no other one to do it, my cooking is passable only for my own consumption.
I was unable to escape the assignment.
We were paired off by twos and what made matters worse was that I was paired off to my long-time buddy Bernie who shared the same ‘culinary skills’ that I have.
And so one lunch time Bernie and I donned on our imaginary aprons and proceeded to the make-shift kitchen at the back of our tents to cook lunch for 12 persons.
The menu pasted on the wall of the tent showed vegetable soup so while the rice was cooking, Bernie and I joined our efforts in whipping a vegetable soup that would pass the standards of my co-campers.
We were left to our own resources. We cooked the food under a big kaimito tree. I got out the big karajay, sauteed the garlic and onions, the fish and dumped all the mixed vegetables. Before the broth boiled however, a big salamander fell into the karajay on top of the vegetables.
I panicked and was about to squash it with my laddle when Bernie pulled me.
“You can’t kill that because we are out of time and supplies to cook another batch,” he reasoned out. With the laddle, Bernie scooped out the salamander, who might have been as frightened as I was out of the karajay to safety. We agreed to be silent about the incident and went on to serve lunch.
Surprisingly, we got rave reviews on our “delicious” (haha, if only they knew!) vegetable soup but no one noticed that Bernie and I did not eat any of it.