How to cultivate your inner foodie

by Forager on January 5, 2009

You don’t need me telling you but there’s nothing quite like a home cooked meal – and my parents make some pretty darn good meals. Before they retired my parents even used to own their own restaurant, so they’re no strangers to cooking and especially producing elaborate banquets. For as long as I can remember my father couldn’t really deviate from the heavy, oily restaurant style cooking so I used to prefer the more bland “home-style” flavours of my mother’s cooking for every day meals. But retirement has mellowed out even my father’s cooking style and I can happily eat till I look like I’m 4 months pregnant without worrying about excessive oil and spices in the meals.

Lately, my parents have taken to receiving dinner requests. Instead of racking their brains to think up something for dinner that they’ll hope we’ll like, they prefer to allow us to make our own a la carte selections. Last night we had wok fried black pepper beef fillet steak with onions (super juicy & tender), pork and seared tofu stew, stir fried tung choi (water spinach) in garlic and white fermented tofu sauce, and steamed barramundi with ginger and shallots and drizzled with hot oil. *Mmmm… so delicious*

My love for food can definitely be attributed to their amazing cooking skills and my mother’s no-nonsense attitude to food. I never even entertained the thought of being a kid that didn’t eat their vegetables. I grew up eating all sorts of things that were primarily delicious and only secondarily, as a distant afterthought, questionable as a source of food. Offal, trotters and feet, blood, cartiliage, gooey substances like fish eyeballs… by the time I developed the social sensibilities to question these things I had been ingesting them for so long and on such a regular basis that it was too much effort to develop squeamishness. And to be honest, I’m glad I’m not squeamish. You can’t call yourself a real foodie if you start to judge your food before you’ve even tasted it – so my parents gave me a great foodie start in life.

The only downfall to my parent’s foodieness is that they might be a little too much on the no-nonsense extreme of attitudes. My mother says that the Chinese think any animal with their back to the sky are fit for the Chinese dinner table. This effectively only rules out humans and some other primates. I guess older hunched over folk and babies are fair game too?

Oh, and there’s that semi-suppressed memory of my pet duck – I think his name was “Biggie” because he was considerably larger than his peers (hey, I was 5 years old, gimme a break). One fateful day my parents decided that he was too old and despite my desperate wailing, my streaming tears and my threats to disown my parents and run away from home, they tried to force feed some of Biggie’s stewed drumstick to me.

*Tsk, tsk, tsk…*

Is it any wonder I turned out the way I did??! Eh?!

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