Cooking is therapeutic. Last week, we prepared a couple of dishes for two consecutive dinners (photos of the dish can be found on my previous post). It does help to wind down, dive into cooking, and just enjoy the preparation of an anticipated dish (well at least my sister and I were really looking forward to our experimental cooking and of course, eating!) Already dropping or improvising and ingredients when we’re just amateurs. Good thing, we call this experimental cooking. It’s just difficult to make sure all the ingredients are there when you can’t shop every week and plan ahead all the time for the dishes you wish to cook.

I remember this time when we were cooking with our cousins at our aunt’s house and we couldn’t find any calamansi. My cousin and I went door to door (well just a few knocks from our neighbors) and asked if they have calamansi and they didn’t have any. We thought then, maybe we should’ve asked for lemons. We didn’t prepare this ingredient anymore thinking that we would find it in the house. Isn’t it a staple sauce and ingredient in our cuisine? I would see people eating their food with toyo-mansi sauce (soy sauce and calamansi) with siling labuyo, as if this should be present in every meal they have. Later, I think my cousin asked the driver or someone to get some calamansi from their house.

It would be nice if you could cook and all the ingredients are already present just like what they show on the cooking shows, all that is needed is laid out on the table. But I guess finding and shopping for the ingredients is part of cooking itself. And I revel in that too, also learning in the process though hardly good at it, like picking out the meat or poultry and vegetables.  The others are easier such as the herbs and other necessary ingredients, but it depends on the availability too. I grew up where our activity on Sundays would be to go the supermarket to shop for groceries. So I became accustomed to finding what we need at home with an invisible list. It does help to have a list, so that you’ll be limited to those targets that would contain your shopping cart and control things stored at home. It’s quite a dilemma, you’d just grab one or two and end up not having a reserve so the cooking will be postponed until you get to shop again. But it’s good to lessen the load of those we won’t be needing soon.

Sometimes, we would like to cook given the snap of an idea but when trying to mobilize it, it turns out that there are a lot of ingredients that we lack to complete that particular dish. So the solution would be to improvise by substituting the ingredients or subtracting it from the list, or better yet look for another recipe that’s appropriate for the ingredients at hand.

I did enjoy both our grocery and cooking time with my cousins. Hope we could find time to do that again.


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