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The Peculiar Method of Cooking

11 Nov

As the official guardian of this household I work tirelessly to protect my master and his family. If you haven’t guessed, I am a dog, and live in the comforts of my master’s suburban house. These human beings have unconventional behaviors, many of which I fail to understand. The strangest thing is the way they prepare their food. As every other animal in nature does, I prefer my meat raw and obviously this is the ideal way to eat as you can really taste all the bold flavors and juices the meat has to offer. My master’s wife insists on ruining the flavor of all food by placing the meat over a fire, which appears to start out of nowhere with a simple turn of her wrist, and scorching the meat till all the natural flavors have been lost.

One day my master’s wife was making something she calls pesto pasta with chicken. She again started the magic fire without any wood and began to heat water. Once it had begun to bubble uncontrollably, the master’s wife threw in dried strips, which she called pasta, and they began to come to life as soon as they dropped into the water. She next cut the chicken into pieces and heated it until it was dry and tasteless. Finally, the master’s wife seemed to add some sort of green substance from a jar onto both the pasta and the chicken. After she was finished mutilating the flavor of the chicken she seemed content and called the entire family for dinner. Although my master gave me some to try, I long for rich, raw meat as the flavor of the human’s creation still lingers in my mouth. I think I will go eat some grass.

Sev Puri

11 Nov

I can tell that they think we’re annoying when we invade their space. They step on us and sometimes spray watery stuff that kills a lot of the others—the ants— but it doesn’t stop us. We crawl through cracks and holes to get shelter from the scorching sun and nothing lures me more than the humans’ food.  There was one food, though, that I remember more strongly than all the others.

It looked like a soft mountain and smelled of so many different things. When you first came upon it, the bottom of this food, to me, was hard but felt like it would break any moment. That part didn’t have much taste so I managed to make my way up to the top where the interesting and flavorful part was. I came upon this the mushy part of the food. It tasted okay but my attention was set on all the colors. There were brown, white, green and red liquids slowly running down the mountain and felt as if they would drown. As I made my way past the sauces, there were specs of red powder and purple pieces that made my eyes burn—my least favorite part. At the top there were yellow string-like pieces and green leaves. Each part tasted completely different and I wished so badly that I could eat this small mountain all at once like the humans did. Of all the individual flavors I tasted, I could only imagine what all of them would taste like together. It would be an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

Since the day I stumbled upon that food, I have only eaten sweet food unwillingly and it has become monotonous. I cannot scramble for random tasteless bits any longer. For Sev Puri—what I heard them call it—I would risk getting sprayed and stomped on any day.

Memorable Brownies

11 Nov

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I sit alone in the computer room wasting my weekend away by watching videos on Youtube and checking my Facebook every five minutes. As I sit there typing up a response to my friend’s comment, my attention is suddenly captured by a distinct aroma.

“Happy Birthday, Ben!” I hear familiar, loving voices around me. I see friendly faces around me covered with gleaming smiles from ear to ear. It is my sixteenth birthday and all my childhood friends are with me at the park. Here comes my sister with her famous homemade brownie cake! She even took the time to add a layer of chocolate chip ice cream on to!  I am such a spoiled little brother.

I gather the energy to get off my chair and follow the captivating scent to its source. My sister, with her hands covered in oven mitts, is working diligently in the kitchen while occasionally glancing at the television screen. I walk over to the kitchen counter and stare at her masterpiece. My stomach grumbles.

“Hey, don’t touch that! It’s for Kevin’s birthday. I still need to put frosting and decorations on it. I’ll make a separate batch for you tomorrow.” She takes off the oven mitts and immediately begins mixing sugar and some other ingredients in a bowl. I offer to help, and she hands the bowl over to me. As I stand there mixing away, she reaches for some flour and says, “Might as well make a batch for you right now too.”

I grab a fresh brownie and pop it quickly in my mouth so it doesn’t burn my fingers.  My sister gives me a weird look.

“What are you smiling about?”

“Oh, it’s nothing.”


Memory Food

10 Nov

My mouth was watering as I bit into the hot and steamy McChicken and its wonderful flavors poured into my mouth. My hunger pangs had finally been relieved, thanks to this cheap and delicious mini burger, of which I had ordered two. Upon the first bite, memories of the past had twirled back into the forefront of my conscious, memories of my high school days when I would go to McDonalds with my friends during lunch.

I was sitting on the curb with my friends enjoying a juicy McChicken, right outside of McDonalds. It was around 1 AM, and we were having a late night snack on our way back from an anime convention to my brother’s condo, where we were staying. As we were enjoying our meals, a battered-looking man in ragged clothes stumbled in front of us, obviously intoxicated. He stood in front of us and started saying random things to my friend. He was saying mostly nonsensical things, although I heard something about “Zelda.” One of my friends offered him his sandwich, but he still wouldn’t leave us. As soon as he mentioned the word “kill,” I started to freak out a little. One of my friends slowly got up off the curb and went inside to get security, and in a few moments security warded off the drunk guy. It was a scary experience while it was happening, but immediately after it had passed we were laughing about it for the rest of the night.

Each time I bite into a McChicken, I am reminded of the strong bond I have created with my friends and how important they are to my life.

Memory Connected by a Scent

10 Nov

My parents, grandparents, and older relatives love to eat a fruit from southeast Asia called a durian.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before, but if not, just know that durian is a fruit with such a strong odor that it is banned in several buildings and public transportation in Asia.  When I was younger, I would sometimes come home from elementary school to the scent of durian which I could smell from outside the apartment.  Whenever I knew there was a cut-open durian in the living room – and it’d be hard for me to not notice unless I’ve lost my sense of smell – I would hold my breath and charge from the front door straight into my room.  Of course, the smell of durians could easily penetrate my bedroom door, but it was the best I could do.  If I had to come out of my room for the kitchen or restroom, I would have to stop breathing for a moment.

Then one day, the durian did not stink anymore.  I don’t even understand why that previously disgusting odor turned into a sweet scent, but I was finally able to eat the durian when I was around 17 years old.  Apparently the durian is somewhat similar to ice cream in consistency, but with its own distinct flavor.  But don’t be mistaken; it’s not like I suddenly love durian now.  Whenever I even think of a durian, the picture of me running away from its odor in our old apartment would automatically come to mind.

The Forbidden Fondue

10 Nov

Something we don’t think of often are limits placed food, specifically age limits. We all know about 21 for alcohol, but more importantly what about fondue? Cheese fondue, meat fondue, seafood fondue and chocolate fondue have their place in the delectable niche in the make-your-own-meal-table-side cuisine. We even just had a chocolate fondue party in Webb Tower hosted by building government. Who could dare to try and take away this pleasure from alleged “underage” humanity?

I was sitting in the car when a golden pot caught my eye. My dad seemed indifferent, eyes focused on the road, but what could it be? Sticks poked out from the shiny rim and flame burned beneath it. “Geja’s Cafe” was written on the sign on which it was adorned on. Puzzling to my young and curious mind. “Dad, what’s that pot?” I excitedly inquired. But the pot was gone. My dad turned the corner and had no clue as to how to decipher my nine year old cryptic descriptions of a floating golden pot. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that they explained the wondrous “fondue”… and I wanted it.

Well Geja’s Cafe in Chicago could. Their arbitrary minimum age was set at ten years old. Thanks to insurance policies meant to police children, I was prevented from experiencing fondue at a young age. Fondue does have it’s merits as a weapon of destruction: hot oil, open flame, and sharp skewers. Recipe for disaster indeed.  I was devastated and a mere few months later elated when the first hot skewer of meat hit my tongue. Ahhh forbidden pleasure.

Short Lived Reality

9 Nov

Today was the day I was separated from my family. I have been living in a glass container with my family for 15 days. They have been with me ever since I was born. Five of my brothers and six of my sisters have been taken from me by the loud, big-eyed captors. My mother tells me they are part of a savage, ever living species and are known as “humans”.  I see them more as villains, hunters who take my species captive just for fun.

Today, our caretaker, a large, hairy idiot who eats nauseating orange sticks, stuck his hand in our home and violated our privacy. He does whenever one of the smaller big-eyed captors sticks his nose and stubby fingers on our glass windows. This unfortunate event happens every so often and we all swim for our lives. Despite our efforts, he always catches one of us. Today, it was my turn.

Our caretaker stuck a plastic bag into our home and shook his hairy arm around. It felt like the end of the world for us as we chaotically swam from one end to another. He grabbed me by my fins and isolated me into the bag. He then handed me over to a small girl who took the bag, my new home, and created havoc. She shook my bag and created a hurricane. No matter how hard I tried, I could not move, I was a cripple in my new home. This was the moment I realized I did not have much longer to live—my life was almost over.


A Beautiful Thing

9 Nov

Exhausted feet wrapped in light-up sneakers run across the hot Santa Ana pavement and into the building where the smell of stale corn dogs lingers in the summer air. Without hesitation, these feet head to the back corner of the convenience store and to the machine of magic delight with the anticipation of a frozen treat. I am eight years old inside a 7-11 about to satiate my intense slurpee craving. A staple of my childhood, the slurpee was my reward for surviving a rigorous and demanding day at El Dorado elementary school.

The slurpee was a relief from the “troubles” of childhood, a cool comfort that soothed any worries and brought me to tranquility. In the store, my only concern was: do I want blueberry, white cherry, and coca-cola or white cherry and coke or JUST white cherry. Should I include mountain dew?

Conveniently located between my school and my house, this particular 7-11 was a regular part of my daily schedule, especially during hot summer days. The slurpee is nostalgia in a cup, a cool reminder of youthful innocence and bliss. This refreshing treat brings me back to my childhood. Of the corn dogs and the heat and the excitement and the cool relief as I jumped back into my mom’s car. Slurpees truly are a beautiful thing. Where is the nearest 7-11…?

For Science

9 Nov

My first memories are of me being brought home by a little girl and her family. I was obtained from some sort of shelter in which they keep dogs to be distributed to families. She was so happy to bring me home but over time she stopped playing with me. Eventually, I learned to amuse myself by escaping from the back yard where they kept me. I would roam the streets and chase cars until my owners would realize I was missing, and only then would they search for me. After many months of roaming the streets and eating whatever I could find, a young woman took me to her house. From then on I have lived with this woman and her son. From what I can gather, my new owners took me from my old home, I can not establish whether or not I was traded for something.

To this day, I still eat whatever I find. My owners get very angry with me sometimes. Apparently, some of the things that I find delicious are quite important to my masters. On multiple occasions I have been yelled at for eating things like “money” and “phone chargers”. As of yet, I have not determined why these things are important to them. Through research, I intend to discover what role these items play in the lives of these confusing humans. I vow to eat, or at least chew, anything I find to better my knowledge of the humans. For the benefit of myself, and for science!



The New Sushi: Nigiri

9 Nov

        While North Americans appreciate regular sushi rolls and Temaki Sushi, a special branch of sushi has spread its popularity in East and Southeast Asia: Nigiri Sushi. Fortunately, I had a chance to try such delicate I during the summer of 2010. After shopping in the city, my friends and I went to the “Little Tokyo” in Taipei.

“You are going to see the most epic food,” said one of my friends; and left me wondering, “What else can it be? It’s just sushi!”

 While approaching the restaurant, I saw a line starting from the entrance of the restaurant to the end of the block. We waited for two hours outside of the restaurant just to get a table. I was surprised because we were assigned with a chef who will make all the sushi for us. After few seconds, the first nigiri was made and my friends insisted that I have the first one.

“This is not just sushi,” while I put the ball of rice in my mouth. The softness, the freshness, and the spiciness were all at the level of perfection.


The friends laughed loudly just looking at my expression, not to mention I had the next five nigiri served to us. While eating, the chef introduced the qualities of nigiri. Basically, the chef needs to shape the rice into a sphere, and put on fresh fish (Sashimi).

“It may sound easy, but it took my just five years to learn,” said the chef.

From choosing the correct rice, fresh fish, correct sauce to actually making the nigiri, every steps must be monitored carefully. The experience of the chef is especially important. With such precision, no doubt nigiri can rise as the most popular dish in East Asia. It represents delicacy and precision when making the food.

It was the only food I kept thinking while on the flight back to Canada.

“I am coming back for this,” I said to myself.