When I was younger, I didn’t get the deal with pumpkins. I didn’t like their texture and taste. They reminded me of the mushy congee cooked in pumpkin broth, which was pretty much akin to baby food. And not surprisingly, it was a regular item on the menu of many kindergartens or primary schools. Teacher: “Look at the vibrant orange color! So much nutrition in one spoon!” Me (in silence): “No thanks.” Continue reading
For a long time, I thought bò kho (beef stew) – the type my family makes in Vietnam, was impossible without the pre-mixed little pouches of spices found in every mom-and-pop groceries store. You want bò kho? Grab a bò kho kit. Phở? Here are your phở cubes. We took shortcuts because shortcuts were always available, and it would be a crime to spend more time than necessary on something so basic, so ordinary like cooking. Continue reading
Lately I find myself drawn to observing babies/toddlers/children everywhere I go. Some are adorable with their chubby little toes and fingers, their high-pitched voice, their enthusiasm and excitement at all things in their sight. Some are just a bunch of nuisances (for lack of a better word). They cry; they kick; they make scenes. So dear reader, what are the perks then, of being a parent, besides speaking in silly voices to your baby without being judged? I wonder how my parents felt when I was growing up. Was I a bundle of joy or was I a nuisance?
8am. It’s raining outside. My hair is a frizzball. My body too lazy to move for its own good. Still obligations await and (other people’s) business to settle. With all the willpower that I have, I get out of the house swimming in a shirt so loose you can barely see my body. On top of it is a shawl/scarf/blanket/rug (fashion police can sue me). Hide me hide me. If I have to get up and present myself to the world, the least I can do is be comfortable wearing whatever I want and not giving a damn about how hideous it looks. Continue reading
Dear reader, one more week before Chinese New Year comes, blasting the streets with upbeat festive music and dragon dance drums. Have you decided on the reunion dinner menu? Where will it be this year? Have you gone to the bank to exchange new notes for ang-baos? Is the house ready to welcome the year of the rooster? Continue reading
Some people loathe early Christmas decorations. I don’t. To me the anticipation before any holiday is the most exciting part of it. You plan activities, organize meet-ups, shop for gifts, watch people shop for gifts while sipping coffee resting from all the shopping you’ve done. Then all of a sudden, Christmas passes, and soon enough you find yourself humming to festive songs with dragon dance drums playing at the background. Early decoration for Tết – the equivalent of Chinese New Year in Vietnam – is never a sin either. Continue reading
Recently two of my very close friends (one of them an expert in pumpkin prep) decided that their current jobs have become too much to bear. There comes a point when all the long working hours, the taxing straining professional relationships and the constant supervision will no longer justify the monthly paycheck. There comes a point when the learning curve stagnates and you start churning out results like a robot. They have reached that point, and they quit. Continue reading