Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fire Control

I loved to cook when I was young, as both my grandfather and parents were good cooks. Further more, my mother-in-law was once a protégé of a famous chef, and I intend to publish a cookbook based on her recipes in the future.

I am not a culinary expert, but I love eating and experimenting with flavour creations. If I eat anything nice, I will try to re-create it at home.

Cooking actually requires a lot of skill, be it choosing cooking ingredients or utensils, but the key lies in controlling the degree the ingredients are cooked, and the consideration of the order of adding the ingredients, when to eat the dish, size of the serving etc. When everything is OK, the cook's mood is also important. Emotions do not affect my professionalism at work, but I am after all not a culinary genius or professional chef. If my cooking is appreciated, I will be more motivated to cook; if I am criticized, my desire to cook can be greatly affected. Well-meaning suggestions can improve skill, but if there is no sincerity in it, it will only make the recipient glum and moody.

Nevertheless, cleaning up the mess is the round that tests my patience the most, and of course professional chefs can get away with that. However, when the guests dissipate, I would feel that everything is worth it.

In order to reward my staff for the past year's toil, my wife, my maid and I organized a forty-pax buffet. I started preparing from eight in the morning, and the party lasted until 10pm. In the morning, my maid and I cut vegetables and fried some small snacks, but the star of the show was the soup. The maid was busy preparing all the required utensils and cutlery. There were 5 types of vegetable sides and fried snacks, and 200 fish balls, 10 cans abalone, fresh prawns, octopus etc., which all had to be prepared by hand. The star of the day was my well-honed yam rice and black pepper beer crab.

After enjoying the gourmet spread, everyone started pitting their gambling skills against each other. Ha ha, in the end I won back 3 cans of abalone, all thanks to their generosity!

It seems that only actual participation in the decoration and preparation work of a party can make one appreciate it even more. Next year, I wish that everyone would come to my house to cook two or three small dishes and exchange culinary pointers, and win prizes!

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