My maternal grandma and my mum were great cooks.

My ealier childhood memory of food were birthday cakes rich with butter icing, the delicious zhong or rice dumpling which kept us craving for more, the fragrant of char-siu (bbq pork) roasting in the oven, the fried wontons that had to be rationed; even a simple dish of noodle stirred with black soy sauce, soy sauce, a little ajinomoto and lard oil which I so frequently had for lunch were delicious beyond compare.

My mum used to cook like a caterer, cooking for my dad’s party of VIPs or friends; but when it came to family dinners, she always made way for my grandmother, who created the best steamed chicken, the nicest pork spring rolls, and ah-mah’s style noodle is a legacy.

We used to have a production line during Chinese New Year, 4 children and my mum all lined up to handle the different parts of the cookie baking process. My mum never did any of the cooking or baking for business, but she would sell them in charity bazaars, or cook them for friends’ parties or get-together.

The sad thing is, I didn’t bother learning any of the recipes from my grandmother nor my mother. I always thought they’d be around to cook for me, there was no real motivation to cook for myself or my family and I wasn’t married until both passed on.

My mum's scribbling of recipes

I started cooking for myself and friends when I did my final year in England. Sharing a flat with 3 other Malaysians, we took turns to cook. We tried to replicate festive dishes with whatever we could find in the small English town our small allowance could afford. That was when I discovered the pleasure of cooking.

When I returned and got married, I lived with my widowed father for 5 years, and had to cook for my husband and dad; and occasionally even did some baking.

My biggest motivation is I love to eat.

There are good restaurants out there in Malaysia, no doubt, but there are also a lot of busineses who wanted high profit without providing you the quality you paid for. So the best control you can have over what you get to eat, is really to prepare them yourselves. Although I have a live-in helper who does the cooking, I still like to get involved occasionally, especially on weekends.

With no skill or recipes passed down from parent or grandparents, cook books, the internet are my best source of information. Although I get some advice from my MIL, as her cooking and my mum’s cooking are very different and not to my liking, it only helps a little.

I, however, think I’d gone a long way from knowing nothing to being able to cook and bake relatively well. And I advice those who love your parents’ cooking not to wait till too late to learn the skill and recipes from them.

I wish my girls will have fond memories of childhood food like I do when they grow up, if they didn’t, this site will jolt their memory. :)

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4 Responses to “The Journey Begins – My Cooking and Baking”

  1. shoppinghaunts Says:

    okok i gotta start picking up culinary skills from my mom now :)

  2. ZMM Says:

    Dinah, you ought too.. and I’ll learn fr you. :P

  3. sue Says:

    Seems like our moms are all great cook… and try as I may, I can’t seem to have her knack on cooking. Baking I love, but I find after cooking or baking, I do not have any appetite to savour my own creations :P

  4. ZMM Says:

    Sue, Haha.. I think it’s the same with me, the part about cooking. If I spent too much time at the kitchen, the food somehow doesn’t taste that nice any more. :(

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