May 30, 2006


This is what happens when I start cooking after a long hiatus away from my kitchen.

Top to Bottom: Coco Chicken with Squash Flower, Mee Siam, Fried Shrimp and Onion in Mang Tomas BBQ Sauce.

My friend, Becky, was just telling me that there are times when she thinks that it's cheaper to eat out than to cook. And I knew exactly where she was coming from!

When you start out on your own, you still try to get a feel of things, and that includes menu planning. I remember that I was SO excited to finally be on my own and be the one to decide what goes into my stomach for dinner (Deciding what to eat is what I really looked forward to when I went on my own. I actually bought an oven even before I even had a bed or a sofa.). Earmarked cookbooks, printed web recipes, and recipe sms from friends filled my kitchen which translated to a full pantry, a full ref, and a weekly grocery bill (90% was food) worth Php1,500.

I knew something was amiss because that amount was my family's weekly grocery bill (and we were 6 big eaters!). As I learned portion control and got better at menu planning, I was able to trim down my weekly groceries to Php400-500 (food and nonfood), but I have yet to control my time in the kitchen.

What makes cooking great is the instant gratification of seeing, smelling, and tasting your own creations. This gratification feels so good that you just want it to go on and on and on, so you keep cooking. Add to that are the perishable ingredients that have been stocked up for days because I had no time to cook over the past week.

What started out as a simple Mee Siam (Thanks to my very thoughtful friend's -Joyce- pasalubong from Sing! Yahoo! ) gave birth to Fried Shrimp and Onion in Mang Tomas Barbecue Sauce and Coco Chicken with Squash Flower. I didn't get to sleep on that night, but my baon and my gratified self is set for the week.

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