16 July 2007

I Don't Know How to Cook

This weekend I was planning on cooking, but I didn't. I couldn't decide what to cook and I was craving some home cooking. You know - the stuff of my childhood like Mungo and rice. When it really comes down to it, I can cook like 3 things from my childhood (1) egg rolls (2) bifsteak and (3) adobo. And, I can only cook the chicken adobo because my beef adobo turns out rock hard.

How sad is it that I cannot make something simple like mungo or nilaga? I blame it on the fact that my mom didn't really cook. Actually, I can't blame anyone but myself. My lola and lolo lived with us while we were growing up (big surprise) and she cooked everyday. She made longanisa from scratch and I remember sitting on the kitchen floor watching her stuff the pork casings by hand. She didn't use a meat grinder or food processor either; she would chop the mean and mix the ingredients by hand.

Yes, I have a Filipino cookbook but everyone knows that pancit is a personal thing and all pancit is not created equally. I could ask my aunt to teach me how to cook, but like all Filipina aunts she would just say, "Eh - it's easy. Just a little of this and a little of that to taste." I think the cooking thing is a birthright like being able to point to something with your lips. I think maybe I need to go on the Internet and find a Filipino cooking class. One that caters to daughters that never learned how to cook Filipino food properly.

7 comments:

la dra said...

That's so funny. I use cookbooks to make Filipino food too! I don't have any excuse for not knowing how to do it from memory except that I just don't cook it that often. In general, I think of Filipino food as party food, not everyday food.

xiaolin momma said...

Irene,
You are SO funny! I have been in a hotel for the past few days and I've been thinking about how bad I want some white rice, lumpia and my moms kare kare.
If you find that cooking class, please let me know. My own pancit never tastes quite right. I too have asked my mom for directions and got the same answer! aargh! ay sus!

mamazilla said...

just an fyi - not too long ago, chopping block chicago offered filipino cooking lessons. a teacher there - i think it was ariel bagadiong - taught it. hopefully, it will probably be offered up again.

and hiromis on lawrence has a japanese-filipino cooking class every first monday of the month with leo bariso.

SugarMama said...

whoa mamazilla ---- I know ariel bagadiong! small world isn't it. My brother used to date his sister, and I remember back then he had wanted to get in a culinary school ---- and I guess he has done well for himself!

btw Irene -- I can really just cook spam. hehe...

maria said...

I learned how to cook because my Dad insisted on it. Now, I cook like him, no recipes, just from memory and then that too changes according to who's going to eat, or I would go eat out and if something taste good then I would cook it at home, not really knowing what's in it, but figuring it out along the way. I found out that most recipes from cookbooks don't taste like the ones we actually eat. Maybe it's because people don't want to share the secret. As for pansit, just make sure you have a ton of chicken and chicken stock (the kind you actually make by boiling chicken and chicken bones for at least 2 hours). That usually does the trick.

ivy said...

Hi all. I just discovered Filipina Moms recently! Anyway, I read this post and had to comment. I was born in the P.I. lived there until I was 12, and the only things I can cook are lumpia, sinigang (with help from the hubby), and spam. Oh and I can heat up a mean can of corned beef (with or without potatos)! My two younger siblings and the hubby can outcook me anyday. I really should watch and take notes when my parents cook.

sunset plumeria said...

i was in the same situation as you and can totally relate. i decided one day that it was time for me to learn and so i went to my mom and aunt's, but they gave me the same 'it's easy...just a little of this and a little of that to taste' which was of no help. so i dove right in and cooked following recipes found on the web or in books. i would take note of what didn't quite taste right and modifying the recipe each time. now i'm to the point where i can cook all my filipino favorites like mungo, tsinola, and pinakbet!

btw, i'm a new reader to filipina moms (referred by the lotus life).