Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Cook Next Door

Umami tagged me for this “The Cook Next Door” meme a few days ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Nicky for starting this meme! I had so much fun going through my memories of the past.

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
My first cooking: Japanese-style curry & rice that I made when I was 10 or 11 years old. One night my mom had to attend a work-related party until late at night, and asked me to cook curry & rice for the whole family for supper. It was a reasonable choice, because instant curry roux was already popular in Japan, so all I had to do was to dice vegetables, cut meat into bite size, sauté them, add water and boil until potatoes are done, then dissolve instant roux. Easy enough.

Mom wrote down instructions on a piece of paper and left it to me. When I read it, it said, “Boil with half pot of water,” but did not specify which pot. I used the biggest pot in the kitchen. Though I added the whole package of the instant roux, the curry did not thicken no matter how long I simmered it, and the runny yellowish thin soup didn’t have much of the curry taste. I ran to the backyard and cried under a persimmon tree there. Later mom came home with omiyage sushi pack for the family (I guess dad called and told her about the supper), but I felt too miserably hurt so I refused to eat the sushi and went to bed. Around midnight I woke up being hungry, sneaked into the kitchen and ate some leftover rice with pickles.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
Definitely my mom. She had a strange pride in not using a measuring cup or measuring spoons for cooking, and strictly taught me to use eye estimation only. See why I always have trouble posting recipes for the Japanese dishes I cook?

Do you have an old photo as “evidence” of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
There must be one at my parents’ house. I’ll take a look and post about it after I visit my parents this summer.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
I don’t know if this is a proper example, but when I was going through repeated experiments for zucchini bread last year, just seeing zucchinis on the shelf at the store made me feel pain in my stomach. Details here. It’s completely cured now, thank goodness. ;)

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
Good appliance: Analogue kitchen scale.
Biggest disappointment: A cheap manual hand blender I bought at a garage sale. When I used it, I had to hold the bowl with one hand, hold the blender with the other, and needed a third hand to rotate the handle.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
1. Cottage cheese with soy sauce / Cream cheese with soy sauce.
2. Grape jelly with breakfast sausage muffin

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?
1. Rice, Coffee * (<--Added Jul. 2 )
2. Takoyaki (Octpus Balls)
3. Unagi donburi or una-juu (grilled eel on rice)

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
Three quickies:
Your favorite ice-cream…Rum and Raisin

You will probably never eat… Some kind of edible bugs I saw on TV.

Your own signature dish… There’s no such thing. I just love cooking & eating, but cannot cook anything very well, honestly.

Well, this time, I think all the cooks I wanted to tag are already tagged by someone. So I’m going to stop this here. Hope you don’t mind… or if anyone wants to be tagged by me, please leave a comment and let me know! :D


Anonymous said...

Really interesting, Obachan!

My Mom used to have one of those manual hand blenders. It used to be my job to hold the bowl while she operated it. Even with my help, it must have been troublesome to work with, because she only used it once a year (for meringue cookies at Christmas).  

Posted by Amy

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan! I can tell you have been to the southern region of the US :-) I had to smile when I saw your grape jelly with breakfast sausage muffin. I thought that was the weirdest combination too! That is, until I tried it. It actually was not too bad, is it?


Posted by JMom

Anonymous said...

> Amy --- What was worse about my manual hand blender was that the handle didn't turn smoothly. No wonder the previous owner wanted to get rid of it : )

> JMom --- Oh, is that a Southern thing? I first tried it at a local hamburger shop in Miss. I don't remember the name of the shop any more, but at least it wasn't McDonald's. The combination was much more than "not too bad"...I loved it. 

Posted by obachan

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