I’M NOT HUNGRY ANYMORE!

There is an annoying trend happening in my household. I cook and no one eats. Sound familiar to anyone? 

Every Sunday, I meal plan and order my groceries online. Each week, like clockwork, I’ll ask the same question – what would you like to eat this week? The response from each member of the family never changes – I don’t know, whatever!

So each week, I waste brain cells coming up with exciting new dishes coupled with a few solid favourites for dinner. Honestly, I don’t know why I bother with trying to expand their palates! The results are always the same. 

“I don’t like this!”

“It smells yuck!”

“It looks yuck”

“I can’t eat this!”

Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? I must be insane. 

The worst part is having to eat leftovers for days on end because I don’t want to throw out good food and waste money. 

You’re probably wondering if maybe my cooking isn’t up to par and that’s why people are refusing to eat it, right?

Well, let me assure you that I’m a decent cook. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’d be in the running to win Masterchef… Junior, that is. As in, if I was competing against a bunch of talented 10-year-olds, I’d totally be in with a chance 😜

Sure, there are people who would spit their coffee reading my bold declaration. For instance, my brother would bitterly disagree and claim that eating my food gives him the sh&ts, literally. My mum would roll her eyes and tell me my food is as bland as baby mush. My children and husband might balk and tell you my meals are never the same and too “experimental.”

But maybe the problem isn’t my abilities or my creations. Maybe the problem lies with everyone else?

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. Just a few days ago, I made a lemon meringue pie for the first time ever. My husband suggested I make use of the surplus of lemons given to us. Obviously everyone knows baking is an exact science and can’t be replicated without a recipe, so I found a highly rated recipe online and channelled my inner Nigella.

This is what it looked like. Pretty damn good if you ask me.

Lemon meringue pie

After making this beautiful creation, my husband told me he didn’t like lemon meringue pie. My 9-year-old daughter told me it tasted terrible, and my 4-year-old son stated he was allergic. I think he meant he was allergic to my food in general.

I offered some to my brother, but he texted “The pie looks mad [but] nah, I’m good. Too risky with diarrhoea.” My friends weren’t too keen to take any, stating diets and what not.

So what do you do when no one wants to taste test your food? You try it yourself. And guess what? I got diarrhoea. My brother was right to steer clear of my food.

While the pie looked amazing, its beauty was only skin deep. The shortcrust pastry was undercooked, the meringue tasted strange and the lemon curd was playing slippery buggers between the layers. I did a rush job and took the pie out too soon, fearing the meringue would burn.

My ratios were a bit off!

But in my defence, maybe the lemon meringue pie disaster was a once-off anomaly. Just a bad day in the kitchen is all. After all, even Gordon Ramsay experiences bloopers and cooking fails.

Last night, I made a beef massaman curry from scratch. No bottle stuff, no siree! I used kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon sticks and even tamarind paste. You know, like authentic Thai ingredients. 

This is what it looked like. Smelled as good as it looked, my friends!

Beef massaman

Anyway, the husband asked if I used lemongrass or kaffir limes, claiming the taste was overpowering. The 4-year-old claimed “grass limes” weren’t for him and refused to even try it. The 9-year-old asked if she had to eat it all to get dessert. It felt like another bust.

The husband tried to placate me saying that I should lower my expectations and not strive for perfection all the time. He suggested that I should view cooking as a journey to be explored and to think of these mishaps as a learning and practice experience. 

He wasn’t trying to sound condescending or critical, but after slaving in the kitchen for a few hours, I wanted to shove my boot up his clacker!

From where I stand (…in the kitchen), there can only be two solutions to this problem. One – be a stubborn mule and continue in hopes something will change. Two – accept that I’m no Gordon or Nigella, and I might be better choosing dishes to suit the palates of my family members. However unrefined those palates may seem.

Which one do you think I should choose?

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THE CURSE OF IMPULSE BUYS

My husband and children like to gang up and tease me. It’s probably because I give them lots of reasons to… I’m giving in that way. I have a tendency to be explicit about obvious things and non-explicit about non-obvious things. What does that mean exactly? I’ll give you some examples. I might say “You should park here” when my husband is practically reversing the car into said space. Or I might say “Can you pass me that thing?” and no-one has any idea what that “thing” I’m referring to is but me. What can I say? I have my flaws.

I blame it on the fact that my mind is on constant overdrive, mentally juggling the billion life tasks that need to be done. That’s my excuse anyway! My husband suggests I should apply the “just in time” strategy to my decision-making processes and not waste time thinking too far ahead. In doing so, I might free my mind to make better choices or decisions in a timely manner. He’s probably right but then again, he would rather be wet than use an umbrella and thinks thongs have no place in footwear, so it’s hard for me to take him seriously at times!

Anyway, recently I went to a bookstore with our 8-year-old daughter and on an impulse buy, I bought an adjustable travel book holder that was sitting at the counter. Those merchandisers are sneaky bastards, and I’m the perfect example of an impulse buyer. I see colourful products and red on-sale signs and my brain goes off like a circus monkey on speed. I can’t help it! I reasoned that our daughter needed help keeping the pages of her book opened. She complained that one time, a few months back somewhere, and that was reason enough for the $17 purchase.

My husband took one look at the book holder and declared it a useless invention made to con easy prey like me. How dare he?! My daughter quickly sided with her dad and wanted nothing to do with the product despite originally agreeing to try it. My son joined in on the fun and soon, dissension was rife.

“I’m going to use it to keep MY research books open!” I argued, attempting to win the debate on the worthiness of a travel book holder, despite not travelling anywhere.

“See? I’m using it right now,” I said, as I failed miserably to prove the book holder useful. Instead of placing the thing on the sides of the book, I put it on top so I couldn’t turn the pages. Then when I realised my mistake and tried putting it on the sides of the book, it wouldn’t stretch far enough for the book I was using as my demonstration. Sigh.

The against team rebuttal included a Google search of the most pointless items ever made and my product happened to make the top 10 list. It didn’t help that my book kept slamming shut because the book holder was a useless piece of junk. Suffice to say, it destroyed my credibility and rendered my arguments invalid.

“That thing is cursed,” my husband joked, “you better get rid of it!”

He and the children went off on a tangent about what cursed objects were and ways to rid one of it. They even drew a pentagram symbol on a whiteboard and placed the book holder within it to keep the curse from wreaking havoc on our household. And to strengthen the protection spell, they drew three more pentagrams around the original symbol. They came up with the idea that the curse could only be broken if the cursed item was accepted by someone else. I couldn’t re-gift or throw out the book holder.

Obviously, it was all done jokingly and the children knew it was all said and done in good nature. But two weeks on, they are still taking the piss out on me. Every time there’s a misfortune, they joke that it’s because of the curse. Like when we couldn’t find a carpark at the shopping centre during the peak hour weekend crowd… it was because of the curse. Or when we had to walk up the broken travellator… again, the curse.

Every day, my 4-year-old son asks if today is the day I’ll rid myself of the curse and therefore, his curse through his association with me. I really don’t want to give it away because it cost me $17 and a stubborn part of me doesn’t want to admit that the book holder is in fact, useless. I’m still holding out hope that one day it’ll prove handy.

BUT at what point does a lie become the truth? If you believe something hard enough, would you eventually create an illusion of the truth? Because at the rate everyone is saying I’m cursed, maybe it’ll really end up that way. Maybe if I really think bad things will happen, it’ll end up true. And if that’s true, then shouldn’t happy thoughts lead to happy things? What if the Universe knows that I’m purposely thinking happy thoughts for happy things, will that mean something bad will happen? What if the Universe is really trying to speak through the curse?

Wait a minute! Maybe this is going too far. Before I book myself into a bootcamp for cosmic curse cleansing…

Does anyone want a free and really useful travel book holder?

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DRUNK AND DISORDERLY

What is it about weddings that bring out the drunkenness in people? Is it the free booze mentality? Or is it that people are so happy for the bride and groom that they overindulge? Whatever the reason, drunk people are hilarious to watch and makes any event that little bit more interesting.

We had my brother’s Vietnamese tea ceremony last Sunday. It was basically a Vietnamese engagement party and formed part one of my brother’s two-part wedding celebrations. Next week will be the civil ceremony and reception.

How was the tea ceremony? It went off like a rocket. Let me give you a rundown of the day.

At 6 am that morning, I had a makeup and hair lady come to my home to turn me from an ugly duckling to a Swan Princess. Unfortunately, she missed the brief and instead of making me look like Elle McPherson on runway day, I resembled a drag queen. Not that there’s anything wrong with drag makeup! It’s just the dramatic look didn’t quite fit with the daytime event.

Anyhow, my husband and daughter took great pleasure in teasing me, comparing my look to that of a clown. Not nice, right?

“Oh you know I’m just teasing you. You look beautiful!” said my backpedalling husband when he saw my angry face. Or at least what looked like anger under the cake of foundation on my face.

“Mummy, you really do look terrible. You look like a panda or a clown.” My eight-year-old daughter’s bluntness was not refreshing in the least.

It didn’t matter what anyone thought as there was little that could have been done about the makeup. At least the Ao Dai fitted and that was already half my battle won.

The tea ceremony started at the bride-to-be’s family home at 10:30 am. While introductions were being performed, my four-year-old son decided it was a good time to complain about being hungry, not just once but repeatedly. Luckily he wasn’t the only child being disruptive. To their credit, it was hard to stand in one spot for 30 minutes while oldies rambled in a nonsensical language.

My dad reluctantly gave up the role of cameraman to his brother but was unhappy with his camera abilities and made a fuss about angles and shots. My dad had to be reminded several times like a child to behave and to keep his focus on the role of father-of-the-groom and not a cameraman. Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task for those around him.

After our obligatory feast at the bride-to-be’s family home, the party of people travelled to my parent’s home for the second part of the tea ceremony.

It was at my parent’s house that I had to do a small speech. Part of the tradition involves the bride-to-be and groom-to-be offering tea to their elders and receiving well wishes and a gift in return. As public speaking isn’t my forte, I was worried about giving a good speech that would encompass how I felt. My brother is eight years younger than me and growing up, I was more of a mother figure than sister to him. And so, the moment meant a lot to me. Thankfully, I was able to get the words out in a coherent manner despite heckling from someone to speak louder and the billions of cameras and phones shoved my way.

With the official part of the tea offerings done, people let loose. My husband, children and I went upstairs, away from the noise and crowd, and the alcohol-fuelled ruckus. Being a part of the immediate family meant that we couldn’t leave early. We spent time upstairs with other families until it was socially acceptable to leave.

The only downside of leaving was missing the part where my aunty chucked her guts after challenging my brother to a vodka slamming contest. Apparently, she was out after six shots. And by out, I mean she passed out on a couch where she laid for several hours after the party ended. She wasn’t the only aunt passed out on a couch either.

There were lots of boozy, half-drunk people everywhere but we left before any of any real fun started. It’s a shame because I’d have captured those moments for your viewing pleasure. Anyhow, this post was just an update on how the tea ceremony went.

Part two of the wedding celebrations will be next week. How long do you reckon a hangover lasts when you’re in your sixties?

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