Sunday, January 29, 2012

Food brings us together in this festive season

What brings people together, especially in this Chinese New Year season? Food, of course.

'Hoi Lin' meal at my Mom's place. 
At my Mom's place on the 2nd day of CNY, this year, my brother-in-law and sister were contributing their part by cooking for the Hoi Lin meal. Mom could actually sit back for a while and enjoy the food.  

The must-have seasoning that must go with each dish.  Made of ginger, parsley and spring onion, this is passed on from Ipoh, courtesy of my brother-in-law.

After the main meal, my sister and brother-in-law took turns to cook their 'la sau' own version of home-cooked fried rice.  Whoever came out with this brilliant idea? The ingredients were just egg, nothing fancy.  We were asked to state our preference after testing. Whatever was the preference, the best thing was both the chef enjoyed cooking for us and we enjoyed eating and tasting the different version of fried rice.

At my youngest sister, as usual, she prepared a spaghetti meal for us.  There were also nasi lemak bungkus from a famous stall in PJ.  Whatever it was, we were well-fed, not only with the meal but also with the wide array of CNY titbits.  I think no one can beat her in terms of the variety of titbits she can offer.  Ranging from the normal CNY cookies and crunchy chips, to chocolates, candies, cuttlefish, dried pork, Milo agar-agar (jelly), ice-cream and even wet pickled papaya and not forgetting the dried pickled and sour stuff.

On the fifth day, we were at my oldest sister's place. She had so much passion cooking healthy meals that she would go all out just to make sure what land on her dining table are healthy meals and nothing else.  Here, she was demonstrating to us how her 'broiler-cum-blender' can whip up some healthy herbal drink. Parting with RM500 (USD 161), she doesn't feel the pinch on her pocket at all as she enthused that she gets to enjoy healthy drink which is what she needs most at her age.  I salute her for her untiring enthusiasm to ensure only the best and healthy stuff for herself and her family. We waited for about 20 minutes for this red dates-wolfberries-rock sugar drink.  Not bad for a cup of nutritious drink.

Lastly, at my house, being a novice in terms of cooking, I wasn't able to cook 'a feast' for them.  Instead, my sisters kindly volunteered to cook.  Thankfully, I had earlier stored some pork cutlet for the CNY season.  They made pork-chops in soy sauce, to the liking of the kids and fried rice.  My sister faced no competition this time and cooked stress-free for all of us, individually. She actually cooked for 10 of us individually as she explained that it would not taste as good if it's cooked together for 10 of us.

Next year, I would be ready to cook for my big family during festive celebrations. I may not be able to cook up chef-standard food but I think it's not so much the quality or type of food which matters.  What matters is the togetherness as the entire family relishes the warm home-cooked meals whilst reminiscing the past as well as sharing 'secrets' and 'tips' to certain family successes.  Gossips are not to be forgotten but they are the least malicious as 'words speak louder than actions' applies here, in this aspect.

Forget about expensive food at posh restaurants if you are cracking your head about where to eat. Home is still the best place to bring the family together. Just roll up your sleeve, be prepared to sweat and get dirty and greasy too.

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