Why have my cooking skills been degenerating? A reminder to be kind to myself

It’s true what they say: your state of mind affects your cooking.

I’m usually fairly confident about my limited cooking skills, but that doesn’t seem to be the case lately as my dishes have been less than stellar. Pasta is rubbery, the sauce drying on the noodle, eggs have been hit or miss. I keep telling myself that this is because I’m not used to using an electric stove, but I’m beginning to not believe it.

I spent one night looking through my old entries. A lot has changed in a decade, and there were times that I ached for what had been, despite knowing full well that I’m way better off now that I ever was before.

I also noticed that lot of my posts were about either how much I was working, or how I was sick. And while I’ve ended up working more during quarantine, I realise that I haven’t been sick at all. Is the city that polluted? Does everything entailed with leaving the house (dressing up, getting a ride, traffic, etc.) stress me out so much I get sick?

It made me wonder if the portrait I want to paint of myself is of someone who is either working or recuperating. I don’t think that’s how I want to remember myself. I intend to take better care of myself so I don’t get sick, even after we can all safely congregate in public again. And because I love my work, I intend to express it better to properly honor the opportunities I have been given.

I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with my cooking. My current theory is that I’m not taking enough risks with the electric stove. Maybe in a bid to eat healthier and spend less, or out of lack of experience, I haven’t been turning the heat high enough, or haven’t been using enough oil, or haven’t been learned how to gauge if a dish is warm enough. I’m slowly learning, though. Very slowly. I’ve discovered the joys of using bagoong and patis to enhance umami. I’ve conquered my fear of frying fish. Maybe if I use enough oil and learn to tell when it’s hot enough, my fried eggs will start coming out perfectly again.

Part of me is frustrated that it feels like learning to cook all over again. But then that’s what life is, right? A continuous acquisition of new skills, whether it’s learning to deal with situations, learning to process emotions, or in this case, learning to find my balance in the kitchen again.

After all, I can’t keep blaming my stove forever.


Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local and international titles.