I remember, just after I moved to the UK, my Tita Bing wrote me an email and suggested that I write down all my cooking experiences and my recipes so that I could share them with everyone. I loved the idea. I’ve been wanting to do a Like Water for Chocolate type of thing where each recipe was connected to a memory. I read that book ages ago and even went as far as to watch the movie. Didn’t like the movie much, but I certainly loved the book! Then a few months ago, Sophie Dahl appeared on telly in a cookery show. The show was based on a book she had written. It had recipes with personal anecdotes. I sat in front of the telly and thought to myself, “Argh! She beat me to it!”
I was fortunate enough to be given the lovely book in question for Christmas so I eagerly started leafing through the pages. But I loved the way she wrote about her recipes, what feelings were connected to the recipes, what memories were evoked when she prepared the dishes. That was how I envisioned this amazing example of prose to be like. And of course, included in the visions of world domination (I’m joking!), there were visions of me going on to publishing this fabulous manuscript and this going on to topping New York Times’ best seller list and me being invited onto Oprah’s couch…I could go on and on, I mean, hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big, right?
A few months ago, I bought myself a lovely notebook to write down my recipes. At least the ones I cooked. The recipes were my versions of the recipes of food that I grew up with, what I learned from my mom and my aunts and recipes that I tried out that quickly became my family’s favourites. I have started writing everything down…by hand (although this exercise was slightly narcissistic as I do think I have pretty handwriting!)! I’ll probably take pictures of the dishes at some point so that I can use the pictures as illustrations. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to actually publish the book but I’d like to say that I managed to fill the notebook with memories. It is a work in progress but if you knew how much of a procrastinator I am, you’d be pleased at the progress that I’ve made!
Trying to write down memories is an excellent way of forcing one to look back at events in one’s life. It has given me a chance to look at things with a whole other perspective. It’s made me appreciate a lot of the things I used to take for granted. I have my Tita Bing to thank for that. She planted this seed of inspiration. Now, I’m determined, more than ever, to finish what I started.