When I tell people I enjoy cooking and thus cook a lot for myself, their reply is a face of excitement, if not one of puzzlement. Let’s face it, everyone takes pleasure in eating, some much more so than others. In all parts of the world, food is consumed for sustenance as much as it is for luxury, and I am fortunate enough to be born in sunny island Singapore, right in the heart of, as many would describe, a food lover’s paradise. Being spawned into a culture of coffee talk and hawker walks, Singaporeans love their food, so much so it has become a national pastime (not officially), and foreign visitors don’t take long to hop onto the wagon.
Cooking is a process of making, which allows you not to have to wait long to reap the fruits of your labour. A home cook delights at the char-grilled lines on his perfectly cooked steak, a master chef is gladdened by clarity of his consommé, and a child is enthralled by his first fried egg. There, I believe, within this operation of making, is a sense of therapy. Consciously or otherwise, when people make things they can call their own, they find themselves.
So when I say I enjoy cooking and that I cook a lot for myself, it’s not a mere statement about an interest or a hobby, I’m sharing with who I am and where I obtain my sense of belonging, here in London, here in a home away from home.