I’m no cook.
I do however, fancy myself as a Martha Stewart of sorts. Gotta be honest with you, I don’t possess her skills but I do pride myself (at least, in the closet, pun intended) on possessing her resourcefulness. You’d be surprised, how just watching television can make you a better cook. Aside from watching BBC Lifestyle, where I get my fix of art, architecture and design, I also watch TLC, where I pick up dastardly skills. Curiously, I got into watching food documentaries, not because I was passionate about it, but for the sole purpose of equipping myself with a skill that, when I was young, saw, as a necessity to becoming independent. Also, the prospect of moving to a place like London, Paris, New York, Melbourne or Tokyo, at that time, to me, was something easily achievable. I suppose I bought into the western concept of moving out of my parents’, and with home being set in the fiercest, most violent, gruesome and traumatizing battle of World War 3, and society looking very homophobic, the grasslands on the other side looked very, very green.
It’s very hard to detach myself from the work I do. In many ways, it’s good, because I write with passion, and while I don’t use big words, the effect is still spectacular because there’s something intrinsic about “coming from the heart”, but there are days where it’s simply not there. It’s fine, being a writer. I’m only human. There are days where you just can’t smile, but I couldn’t imagine myself being a public person, like being a celebrity or a flight attendant. I cook well when I’m in a good mood, and when I’m not in the right mood, I overcook food and a charred smell lingers… Today however, was one of those good days. But there was no food. No fresh food or anything, so I did a little digging, checking out the expiry dates, laying everything side-by-side such as canned pork legs, canned pickles, canned sardine, canned tuna, hordes of Korean instant noodles, local instant noodles, soba, spaghetti; seeing what I could do with what. And before long, a picture of a pasta dish came to me.
I decided on button mushrooms, canned tuna in water and fish cakes, to be tossed in a Marinara pasta sauce. The savory and quintessentially Asian flavor of the fish cake was initially a concern, because I didn’t know how that’d play out in a western dish such as pasta, but it turned out pretty alright. I suppose the seafood-oriented Marinara sauce also helped smooth the flavor seamlessly. I wish I could’ve given the mushrooms a slightly more charred flavor and texture though.