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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SHORT STACK

I experienced a growth spurt once. Those of you who know me are probably giggling, but it’s true! When I was ten-years-old, I shot up in height like a rocket reaching for the stars. Unfortunately, it was short-lived and by twelve, I was closer to Earth’s epicentre than the Galaxy’s stars. I am a short stack, a pocket rocket, fun-sized, a small fry. I am 5 feet tall… on a good day. 

I can’t say that it was unexpected given my dad is 5 foot 1 and my mum is 5 foot 2. I had no hope with those kinds of genes. My brother got lucky somehow and ended up being 5 foot 9. He must have gotten more vitamins in utero than me. 

Suffice to say, I can’t help but envy tall women, what with their long limbs and elevated view of the world. Just think about how useful being tall would be! If I was taller than my 5 foot short stack, I would not…

  1. Need to do a hop, skip and jump over big puddles! I’d simply step over them.
  2. Get bruises from door handles when my sleeves get caught.  
  3. Buy 3/4 pants to substitute for full-length pants. 
  4. Buy shoes from the kiddie section because women size 5 shoes are impossible to find.
  5. Adjust the car seat all the way forward and upwards to reach the car pedals and to see over the dashboard.
  6. Ask random strangers for help getting products from top shelves at the supermarket after making a dunce of myself by jumping up and down like a loon. 
  7. Ask a random stranger to check if I made the 150cm height restrictions for accompanying adults so I could take my 4-year-old son on a mini go-kart ride at a carnival. 
  8. Have to explain to a cop that I was indeed the mother of two children and not their underaged babysitter.
  9. Be mistaken as a young child when on ordering drinks from McDonald’s. I don’t even say this in jest… a few days ago, I overheard a server yell ‘get the little girl her drink order’ to his colleague before correcting with ‘I mean, the lady’ upon second glance. Talk about mortifying!
  10. Do you really need more examples? I think you’ve probably laughed enough at my expense.

There must be yang to this yin, right? Pros to these cons? Let’s see… (thinking)… give me a minute… (thinking harder)… hmm… (brain starting to hurt)… I’ll have to get back to you on this.

Anyway, I can’t change my height, and I wouldn’t want to if it meant I wasn’t the person I am today. I guess I’ll continue to graciously accept hearing people say ‘great things come in small packages’. At least people aren’t cracking jokes about how down to Earth I am or how I’ve got a great perspective on life because I’m always looking up.  

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A WALKING REFLECTION

Self-reflection is a powerful tool for personal growth. For me, self-reflection has become an important part of my life journey and mental health. The practice allows my brain the opportunity to press pause on the hustle and bustle of life, to unravel and shift through interactions and experiences, and to consider my actions and words. By doing so, I can examine and learn from them and therefore, challenge myself to be a better person. In saying this, self-reflection is not always an easy practice.

Self-reflection can bring forth uncomfortable truths. For some, it’s your ego that helps to protect you from unwanted feelings and thoughts and keeps your fragile identity intact. It makes peeling back those layers of yourself difficult, especially if you don’t like what you find. It can feel unpleaseant and vulnerable to open yourself up for self-critism, but increasing self-awareness and achieving personal development and growth is a worthwhile goal.

I started the practice of consciously considering and analysing my actions and emotions when I began this blog. In essence, this blog is my journal where I reflect on the past week’s events and express my feelings and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, self-reflection sometimes feels like I’m beating myself up over something I said or did. But once I get over the initial feelings and look deeper into the whys and hows, I get to a point where I can begin to understand and learn. And I believe self-awareness is a gift worth giving to myself.

So… I’ll give you an example of some recent self-reflection that I did. 

On the weekend, I took the children to see their uncle at the park for a picnic for the first time since this sixth lockdown started almost two months ago. I think we’ve been under lockdown for 270 days since this pandemic began back in 2020. With easing of restrictions and because my brother lives within 10 KM of us, we were legally allowed to meet up. 

My younger brother reminds me a lot of what I was like in my younger years – a bit rash, brimming with confidence, and somewhat temperamental. He’s also incredibly fit. Remember how I wrote about him being my personal trainer for a while? Anyway, lockdown has changed him. He’s not as fit as he used to be. In fact, he suggested, like it was a great idea, for us to drive the car 100 metres down the street so that we would be nearer to the cafe where we were going to get hot drinks. He wanted to save us 100 metres from the 500 metre walk. Obviously, I told him that he was being a ninny and to walk it.  

Later when I relayed the story of my brother being so lazy that he wanted to save 100 metres of walking to my husband, he gave me a look of disbelief.

He replied with, “Who does that remind you of?”

Our 8-year-old daughter chimed in with, “You always want Daddy to park close to the shops!”

Our 4-year-old son reiterated with, “Yeah Mummy!”

Upon a bit of FORCED self-reflection, I admitted to them and myself that I probably couldn’t really laugh at my brother seeing as I do the same thing. You see, sometimes it’s not easy to see your limitations and it can be even harder to admit there are parts of you that could be improved. 

So next time, when my husband parks really, REALLY, far away from where we should be, I’ll endeavour to remember the time I ridiculed my brother, and bite my tongue because a bit of walking never hurt anyone. 

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