Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Childhood Memories Meme

I have been tagged by Chef Doc from a Perfect Pear to share my childhood memories on food and how it has influenced my passion for food today.

It is actually rather strange how food has such an arousing and nostalgic effect on all of us and how it bacame so apparent is also very different for people from across the world.

My Mother-My Number One Culinary Role Model

I admire my mother for several reasons. She is a simple girl born in a pretty wealthy family in Malaysia and never had to lift a finger to do much around the house. And then she got married and had to learn the ropes towards being a professional home-maker. She was a seamstress by profession but studied accounting and is very good with her hands. She had to learn to cook from no experience, knowledge or skills. I grew up watching her make-merry in the kitchen creating several yummy dishes, pastries, cakes, dim sums, etc....through helping her in the kitchen before i attended Home Economics, i learnt the basics of how to make sushi, pizzas, cakes, chicken pies, char siew baos, baked meat baos....etc and many other stir-fried dishes. She is the reason i have developed a liking for cooking and maybe baking too! A few of my favourite dishes she created are: Pork Belly with Dark Soy, Steamed Chicken Rice Braised Five Spice Duck.

Restaurant Latour-Shangri-La Singapore

The one thing that further moulded my love and passion for food, wine and hospitality was when i started my Diploma in Tourism Management at a local Polytechnic and started my internship in a Classic French restaurant which has closed sometime in year 2001. My very first experience with Foie Gras and Dom Perignon Champagne was at this restaurant. After the restaurant is closed, we could try out some of the food and only during special occasions such as Christmas or NYE would we be allowed to hit the champers! I spent a fair bit of time watching the chefs in the kitchen and picked up bits and pieces of useful information. It truly opened my eyes to French food and i started to develop a yearning for more understanding for cuisines from other parts of the world. As most people in F&B would agree with me, that they work really hard and they play hard too.....i developed my tolerance for alcohol mostly after hours at the hotel!

Durians


Actually i did talk about how durians entered my life as a kid in my 2nd posting as a blogger. I used to love durians to death. Ate so much of them that i have seriously O.D. on them after i turned 21. During my early years visiting and living in my late grandparent's shophouse, i remember my uncle running the shopfront selling fruits. Needless to say, he would always pass us tons of fruits that were in season. My late grandparents loved durians and everytime we visited them, instead of any Hainanese sweets we had durians! I remember loving the durians with very yellow flesh with a slightly bitter after taste. This fruit is not for the faint hearted. It's rich, succulent flesh is filled with calories and seriously fills you up. It also smells pungent to some, awesome to majority of the Singaporeans. It was one of the fruits that was served at one of the episodes of the early seasons of fear factor i believe.

Soft-boiled Eggs for Breakfast

As a pampered school girl where mummy took care of all my meals, i had no choice on what i wanted for breakfast and dinner. I used to never like breakfast (in fact, i still dont eat anything for breakfast except for a glass of Milo or cup of tea) and hated soggy toast in the morning. My mum used to toast the bread too soon and by the time i got into my uniforms, my toast would have all gone wet & soft. (thus my anal retentiveness towards toasts). It HAS to be golden brown crispy on the outside and preferably white bread. BUT one thing i absolutely LOVE is a good old traditional half-boiled egg for breakfast with drops of dark soy sauce and pepper! I still go to Ya Kun Kaya Toast to have my soft boiled eggs to satisfy the occasional craving when i have 10min to sit down for breakfast! After living in Australia, there was another addiction i developed for breakfast.......vegemite and butter on toast!!

Living in Australia

I honestly think that living and studying in Australia has changed my perception towards food preparation as well. The appeal of cooking with fresh produce easily accessible is a healthy addiction i readily would subject myself to for 3 years....wish it was longer. I would spend loads on groceries and good cuts of meats, fresh seafood and veggies. Insisting on the freshest actually makes the dish taste so much better; for instance, i would much rather pay more for roman tomatoes than the regular tomates when cooking pasta sauce as the flesh is much sweeter, crunchy, less watery pulp that might dilute my sauce while simmering. My entire perspective towards different cuts of meat, variations of cheeses was enhanced and brought to a different level. Same goes for my appreciation of wines. Had i not lived in Australia on my own, i would not have become so passionate about creating my own dishes and be that wiling to be in the kitchen today.

OK....here are another 4 people i choose to tag to keep the meme going...(if they have not already participated)

Deetour Guide from Take a Deetour in Singapore

Saffron from Food Palate in Sydney

Nic from Baking Sheet in LA

Joe from Foodie in NYC

2 Comments:

Blogger J said...

hi skrat, lovely post...i remember restaurant latour at the shang too - they used to have the most amazing sunday brunch spreads...

11:36 PM  
Blogger Skrat said...

Hi J,
thanks! Im flattered coming from you who is such a beautiful writer :) Latour did have an awesome spread on the buffet line....thats was a reason why i like working the morning shift to work over lunch to savour the buffet line items after closing. Its a real pity Latour closed, i knew they had a very strong following in the good old days.

11:24 PM  

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