You do not need to be proficient in everything, but you just need to know where to find the answer!
For parents, our main objective is to build relationships with our children by making time to connect with them.
I am an advocate of connecting with your children through your kitchen, and to make one meal time each day or each week a family time.
Research has shown that when a family eats together, they have better emotional health, tend to be more loving, and children perform better and are more cooperative.
This is because of the connections you have with them. When you are preparing food and cooking together with your children, you are not only sharing your love with them, you are opening the channel for communications. Also when you share your cultural food, you are actually sharing your culture, about who you are, with them as well. This all builds trust and connections with them.
I know that some parents find it challenging to prepare meals at home. It could be due to being time challenged, not being comfortable in the kitchen or not knowing how to cook…
However, if you are still open to reconnecting to your kitchen, I have a solution for you… use READY MADE ingredients!!!
And it is perfectly OK!
Please allow me to share my experience with you as to why I believe that.
You see, I left Malaysia for Australia when I was 19; I had barely learned the art of cooking, but I had tasted the most amazing dishes during those 19 years in Penang. So I know what great dishes taste like, such as curry kapitan, rendang, asam laksa etc.
I love food, especially the food that I grew up with. So while getting ready for My Long Table’s content, I tried writing my own recipes, with many phones calls back to Penang. But I just could not master the ‘chemistry’ of the basic ingredients. The frustrations were gradually setting in.
While going through my pantry for inspirations, I noticed that I had stacks of curry pastes and other ready-made ingredients, which I had brought back from Penang (and use every day and am loving them).
I thought to myself, what was wrong with using ready-made curry pastes, sauces or dried ingredients? I use them myself, right?
Thus the excuses of lack of authentic ingredients, lack of time or know-how are no longer an issue!
So my philosophy: if you are not proficient in cooking from scratch, don’t fight it. Use what you have on hand and have access to, such as ready-made sauces, pastes etc.. And you can create wonders with them.
With the simple sauces and pastes, you are also making it easier to introduce cooking to them as well. I encouraged my daughter to cook “Kapitan Chicken” – a nonya dish that I grew up with, and she cooked it really well with the ready-made pastes and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I was thrilled that I was able to share my culture with her through this dish, and the taste was delicious. It is FUN, it was SIMPLE and very DOable!
And that’s the whole aim, isn’t it?
Make everything you do fun and enjoyable, and your children will want to do it over and over again.
It does not matter whether you create the paste from scratch, the important thing is you are reconnecting to the kitchen. You are spending quality time with your family and sharing your culture with them.
Make one meal time a FAMILY time!