Unlike other food enthusiasts, who enjoyed the privilege of experimenting in the kitchen with their parents / grandparents in their nappies, I hardly got that chance…
I had a bustling competitive swimming career to attend to on top of my schooling, which required intensive two to four hour training sessions every day. Two hours during school days, and four hours during summer. Yes, I did that everyday for 12-years of my life. Ever since I was 5-years old. Obviously, that did not give me the luxury of time to play around in the kitchen as most of the free time was dedicated to school, to catching up with school work (If I failed in school, I would not be allowed to swim. So I took my studies very seriously.) and to sleeping. But sometimes, if I get to finish my school work ahead of time, I snuck in a few minutes of precious reading time before going to bed. My favorite reads included Asterix comics, the Adventures of Tintin comics, Enid Blyton books and my mama’s cookbooks.
My mama had and still has an impressive collection of cookbooks: from volumes of the then staple Time Life cookbook series, to the heavy duty classic The Joy of Cooking, to the mini-cookbooks from her cooking lessons of yore, to the collection of cut outs from US Editions of Good Housekeeping and Country Home magazines.
I used to hungrily turn page after page of these cookbooks, devouring each word and photo with gusto. I salivated over the center spread of cheeses of the world. I wondered how it would feel to whisk a cup of traditional Japanese green tea, wearing an elaborate kimono. I asked myself if there were tiny pearl like onions in the Philippines. I dreamt that I’d get to taste all these recipes. Often times, I’d mentally note which recipes l could try out someday just because the pictures made them look easy. But again, my busy schedule did not allow me t. So these culinary musings were just pushed back into the someday-one-day-soon-to-do list of my dream heady youngster mind.
Then the rest of my life happened: confusing high school, reclusive college and struggling working career. Now I am a newly wed wife (Sounds redundant does it?), who enjoys, but finds myself sometimes pressured, cooking for my hungry-as-a-horse husband. These childhood cookbook musings have been resurrected…big time.
But the cookbooks I’ve known in my childhood are not entirely the same cookbooks I have now. There still are cookbooks per se, but today we have the wonderful invention called the Internet. Drool worthy food photos and videos, step-by-step recipes, stomach clenching food stories at my beck and call with just a few keystrokes. Every time I have ANY food questions needed, I just turn on my laptop, type in words onto Google and voila! A gazillion answers pop up like magic! Don’t you just love the convenience of it?
The Internet is a glorious 24/7 eat-all-you-can-buffet for food enthusiasts like me.
You just can’t get enough of everything! Your digital foodie plate just piles up…more like overflowing with foodie knick knacks. Even if you can’t seem to handle everything (I feel guilty not knowing or reading enough), you keep coming back for more!
On top of that, you don’t just get to enjoy the guilty pleasure all by yourself. Unlike before, when it was just me, myself and I (or sometimes my sister), who only got to gush over photos, recipes and stories. But now, the Internet allows me to connect to people with similar interests from all around the globe! Amazing right?
With that, I really don’t mind if my mama doesn’t pass on her cookbook collection to me. I do want them for sentimental reasons, but for practical space saving reasons (we have a tiny flat you see), I still feel complete without them. My ravenous foodie mind and heart still gets stuffed every single day. So I can prooudly say: “Look Ma, no cookbooks!”