My mom knew instantly that I was a special child with a unique passion when she came across me watching something out of the ordinary in elementary school. I was watching one of Emeril Lagasse’s cooking shows, “Emeril Live”. I would rarely make any noise in the family room as my mouth watered and my stomach craved the dishes that he had fixed in front of his live audience. Whenever his signature shouts of “bam!” or “aw yeah babe” or “let’s kick it up a notch” came up on the audio of the TV, I sometimes felt like I was viewing an infomercial for a workout DVD plan. As the youngest child of three, I was always sitting on the kitchen counter watching my mom cook dinner for the family. This could be one of the causes of my fascination with the art of cooking. At one point of in my life, I had even considered becoming a chef at a high-end restaurant (it still comes up in my mind every so often).
I have never realized how lucky I was to be able to taste all of the different kinds of food I have had: Italian food, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Mediterranean… the list goes on forever. Having tried this wide variety of food, I never understood the constant complaints from fellow students and friends about not liking the taste of particular groups of foods (i.e. vegetables or fruits) or a particular culture’s food. My parents always encourage me to try new foods because trying new foods ultimately leads to understanding more about a people’s culture. Even when it came down to literature and composition, I learned from my high school teacher that when characters sit around a table and share meals, the meals are much more than meals. Characters that share meals could be eating ravenously and be portraying aspects of sexual acts, symbolizing a type of unity between people, or even representing a character’s family lineage and history to the other character(s) in attendance.
The art of cooking must be perfected after several attempts that may or may not be pretty. I have experimented with cooking foods that did not turn out visually appealing, let alone appetizing. Other meals that I have made were definite home runs and have caught me by utter surprise. No matter what one does, practice makes perfect. There is nothing better than putting in the time and effort toward a masterpiece or train wreck that one can call one’s own. At the end of the day, the project will put a smile on your face. As an introductory blog, I wanted to talk about random topics that came across my mind, but as the blogs continue I will focus on specific dishes from Taiwan and how they are prepared. Maybe I will get you to try out some of these foods in my blogs or even get you to make them yourself!