What I Learnt from Cooking

I’m not a good chef. My food is so bland and “unusual” for most people. But I really don’t care. I love cooking. I feel like I have passion in cooking. But I have so many limitation; like I can’t bake really well. I cook “weird” menu. But I love my food. Well, I always love food. Always. Food is not only giving us nourishment, but food is also the medicine. Let the food thy the medicine, and let the medicine be the food, said Hipocrates.

Cooking is deliberating. Cooking is meditative. Cooking gives me a true happiness. During my hard times, I found kitchen would provide me with a place to “meditate” through the ingredients I have; through the food that I’m working on.

experiment with hot chocolate

experiment with hot chocolate

From cooking, I gained so many life-related lessons:

  • Creative over Limitation. Cooking teaches me I have to be able to be creative with the ingredients I have. I have to create something with all the (ingredient) limitation. Cooking teaches me to substitute thing with something else. Something similar. Or maybe something that’s really different. Related to food, I always want to create and innovate something. I usually go to bed, with a thought, what should I cook in the morning? What kind of food I want to eat? What pancake variant I can make the next day (well, I love pancake and I love to try make pancake from every ingredients, lol.). I’m crazy about pancake. I love to experiment making pancake from any ingredients possible. I make pancake from banana only; red rice flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour (self-grinding), mix it with yogurt, etc etc. Yes, if talk about cooking in Indonesia is very challenging to me. I was so happy in St. Louis because my kitchen was equipped with a good oven. In Indonesia, I don’t have a built oven. So, I use “oven tangkring” which is quite challenging, hahahaha. And several ingredients for food I want to cook is so limited and expensive in Indonesia. So I have to make “a similar” thing with a quite similar ingredient.
experiment with pancakes

experiment with pancakes

  • Being Mindful. How could I chop tomatoes or onion without cutting my finger without being mindful? No way, I need to be mindful. Once I’ve almost cut my thumb because I was thinking about something else while I was chopping vegetables. My thumb was really hurt. I have put bandage for several days and I could not use it typing, washing dishes, etc.
a really good hot chocolate to enjoy in a friend's apartment in Yangon, Myanmar

a really good hot chocolate to enjoy in a friend’s apartment in Yangon, Myanmar

  • Food Glorious Food. Food will bring happiness to people. Admit it or not, food will bring people together and maybe closer. I always a good time with family or friends over foods. During a good meal with friends, we can have hours of quality and good talk. I also love to prepare food and host people. Two things I love best besides traveling and writing.
  • Being Simpler. Cooking really teaches me for a simpler life. What ingredients really matters. What makes me sometimes a little bit overwhelmed with ingredients is my “curiosity.” I usually want to try making this and that. This (most of the time) drives me to shop. But on a regular day, I shop quite simple. I usually stuff my refrigerator with eggs, tofu, tomatoes, paprika, carrots, spinach, kale (if any), lettuce, and onions. That’s all. For dry ingredients, I always have beans and other pulses. But yes, I have overflowed spices. You name it, hahahaha.


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