Cooking for someone

18 02 2009

I THINK that most of today’s chefs – budding, struggling, successful, or otherwise – must have started with just a very simple desire.

 

To cook for someone.

 

I’m neither any of those descriptions I used above.  Budding chef?  Nah.  Struggling  chef?  Say what?  Successful chef?  Didn’t you just get past the answer to the budding chef question?

 

But what I know is that I have the same very simple desire in me.  The very same desire that has been brewing up in me these past couple of decades.  I vividly recall that as a kid all of nine years old, I started cooking.  And I’m not talking sunny-side ups or eggs over easy – but real serious stuff like kare-kare (Filipino oxtail stew in peanut sauce with fresh vegetables and fermented shrimp paste dip).  My hands still bear the nicks and burns from the knives and flame that have formed part of my regular companions during my early years as a chef wannabe, under the tutelage of my mother.

 

And I’m just so glad I have learned to cook.  Yes, I can cook as if my life depended on it.  But more so, I’m glad that I have learned to do it for others.

 

I’ve always believed that the greatest gift is a portion of one’s self or simply, a portion of one’s time.  And that is exactly what cooking for someone is – it is a gift of self.  Sometimes…  no, a lot of times, in the frenzy of all the many and crazy things we need to get done in the 24 hours we have each day, we end up obssessing about managing “our” time.  And no matter how much we believe we do “own” our time and therefore can manage it well, there just seems to be not enough time.  In the office alone, I scurry to and fro tasks on my to-do list (though my STARBUCKS COFFEE® 16-month Date Planner and Journal from Singapore helps!) as if I were in a relay-race.

 

And that’s where small acts of kindness – like cooking for someone – really help to slow me down and allow me to take stock of what is (or are) really important in life.  And it doesn’t matter in what portion of my day I do it.  As long as I would do it for someone who matters enough, I couldn’t care less anymore if it were in the morning, right after office, or late into the night.  Beyond the mise en place, and long after the visible steam of simmering food has disappeared after slaving over a hot stove, what I take away from cooking for someone is how effective it is as a means of communication.  I won’t go as bold as to declare that somebody would want my cooking.  But suffice it to say, by cooking for someone, a part of me is cognizant that someone else has a basic need…  and with my time and little skill, I wish to fulfill that need.  If that is not even the slightest indication of caring for someone, I don’t know what is.  And I’ve never thought that by doing so I’m doing someone a huge favor.  For me to cook for someone means that they deserve it in the first place.

 

As a chef wannabe, I recognize that cooking for someone could render the “chef” to indulge in the highest form of self-expression – a propensity to demonstrate prowess that could overshadow fulfilling the basic need.  And that is where I keep myself in check…  that what matters is to give pleasure and to show I genuinely care.  That in my convoluted concept and belief of “owning” my time, I have realized that only when I give of my time, do I really rightfully get to “own” it.  And when I do feel I own it, next comes finding the time for everything that I need – or want – to get done.

 

But know what?  Sometimes it is not even a matter of finding the time to cook for someone.  If there is one thing “FINDING NEMO” taught me, it is that “finding” can take a long time.  Hahaha!  So it’s not really a matter of finding.

 

Sometimes, it is all a matter of “making” the time.  So make the time and cook for someone.  I’m telling you, it’s food for the soul.

 

 

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10 responses

18 02 2009
v(*-*)v Lei

wow thoughtful soul ka talaga! i wish i could rekindle my flame for cooking… it was eons ago since i had that enthusiasm to cook… but hmmm i can smell it’s gonna be soon;) ahihi! always be a blessing! 😉

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18 02 2009
Nestor R. Ong, P.I.E.

It is great to know Enteng that at the age of 9 you learned how to cook not just an ordinary foods but one of the famous Filipino specialty (i.e., Kare-kare, I love it!). How bless you are with all your many talents and skills not only hosting, singing, writing but also cooking (what else do I still need to mention in my comments)? I am promoting that parents should encourage their children to indulge their culinary creativity.

One of the best things to show our love and affection is to cook for someone special. We are cooking with love as I learnt from a “Korean Telenovela” translated into tagalong language but I forgot already the title as I am not getting younger anymore (Ha…He…Ha…Ha…!). Everyone knows the cheesy adage about how cooking with love makes food taste better. Imagine how touched your beloved family or other special person in your life will feel they receive this wonderful honor bestowed upon them from you? What a wonderful gift idea for any occasion. Chefs with Heart…Whisking up a Better World.

And, one thing to keep in mind is sometimes it is best if two are doing the cooking and even more (i.e., family bonding, get-together with your barkadas, friends, dating with someone special at home, etc.,). This gives cooking an opportunity to become a communication event rather than a chore. It is a great way to create a romantic moments with your dutiful lovers, wives, and husbands.

I would like to put additional note aside from “Cooking with Love” is to make sure that when you are cooking you invite an open and honest dialog about the things that you like and dislike about the meals being prepared. This will help you discover things to add to your regular menu as well as things to avoid making a part of your dinner rotation.

Meme is suggesting a very good book for cooking reference entitled “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel…

Cooking for someone is great way to explore the culinary universe while exposing your palates to some wonderful surprises along the way. Take advantage of the opportunity to do just that (“Cooking for someone”) and you’ll be amazed at the world of flavors you’ve invited into your kitchen.

Keep your burning desire Enteng to take the time always when cooking for someone special in preparing those dishes that you love most! After all, it is really living when you live to dine rather than when you dine to live.

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18 02 2009
NCHK

What a talent! By the age of 9 marunong nang magluto ng kare-kare. Grabe ang talent ni Enteng! Whew, hindi ko ma”carry”. I agree with you that cooking for someone is an act of kindness because you’re giving your time for them.
Praise you, Enteng, with your talent and for an amazing blog.c”,)

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18 02 2009
Crying Freeman

Enteng, thanks again for sharing your thoughts and expressing them in such a manner that provokes a well pondered response from the reader.

I’d also want to thank you for having blogged about this topic: the idea of “the greatest gift is a portion of one’s self or simply, a portion of one’s time”.

Writing is really one of your major talents. I hope you always find the time for blogging and spend “a portion of your time” for the people who read your blog. 🙂

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19 02 2009
- LL -

you’re really an amazing and talented person…
you’re very good in almost everything you do
..d best ka din sa deadma-han..haha

your tom-yum and tinola are simply the best! miss ’em

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19 02 2009
b|uE

“The best way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through the stomach.

Food has always been a part of gatherings, be it with friends, relatives, even with someone special. It is one of the elements that dictate the mood of the occasion. It is evident that nothing would suffice more than a table laid with well-prepared, well-presented, mouth-watering and appetizing food. But what would really fill the recipients’ hearts with appreciation is the fact that a portion of the chef’s self is imparted through the food served (especially if the chef is someone special). It would fill not only the stomach, but also the heart catering not only to the body’s basic need, but also to the soul – the feeling of having someone impart his gift(s) to you.

With all that said, kailan ka kaya magluluto para samin Boss Enteng? I would like to have a taste of the kare-kare. Hehehe…

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20 02 2009
Hazel

This is nice. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more.

I surprised myself with this feat just recently, even if it’s not one of my strong suits. It’s usually something I stay away from when I can. Cooking can really be a daunting activity. More than satisfying a basic need, eating is a pleasurable experience. And sharing this with someone special not only nourishes your bodily demands but also indulges your heart’s content. Failing in an attempt to cook is not even an option. But now I have shifted mindsets. Once you put your heart into cooking, this act of genuine service is deserving of praise regardless of the outcome. Because you give everything in you to gratify another person. It then becomes a gift too beautiful to pass up. With that, I salute all chefs who brave every chance to concoct such delicious treats.

Someday I hope we would come to deserve the privilege of having you cook for us, Enteng. We’ll be waiting. 🙂

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22 02 2009
data

Sherpa, will I see you before I leave the Philippines? *sniff*

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24 02 2009
stavemichael

i really admire you boss enteng. you really are a hell of a multi-talented person. i just learned how to cook recently, and i had a passion for it. one thing that i really observed is that your mood affects your cooking. i dont cook if im really frustrated because the outcome will be sooo ghastly. *laughs*
but “cooking for someone”… its like cooking with “love”. have you seen the movie “woman on top” (Penelope Cruz)? what caught me there was her last line that really says how you would enjoy your cooking and that is to share with “someone you love”. and i guess that’s really your main point in your post. kudos!

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3 03 2009
Albert chubby ^_^

“Sometimes, it is all a matter of “making” the time. So make the time and cook for someone. I’m telling you, it’s food for the soul.”

hihihi, again, the special “someone” is mentioned here 🙂 ^_^

I’m also fond of cooking, specially during sundays and I am feeling too well to cook for my family for the weekly Sinigang ritual. Even though i still lack the talent of making the “perfect” sinigang, but when i see my family craving for the dish that i cook, it just feels special. I agree that it is not all about the finding, but the making of time to be spent for our loved ones. They will recognize the effort that we put into it, making it more valuable.:)

hehehe, segwey muna, nice new format boss enteng, lalong sumasarap yung mga pagkain sa pics 😛

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