ordinary and oddinary

I write therefore I exist.

Chronicle of a lazy cook

Who doesn’t but I like eating good food.

I like cooking too, but as a full time working woman, for me cooking every night is an uninspiring yet (mostly) inevitable process which I do my very best to make efficient, effective and streamlined.

Hence, what I always look out for is how to cook smart and fast and with which ingredients I can achieve this. Of course it has to be tasty. I hate eating tasteless food just because I’m hungry. I’d rather not eat and be famished. Luckily I am a good cook and Mark is a grateful eater. With this marvelous combination, my cooking is as less stressful as it can get for a married working woman.

Sometimes I wonder what if I had married a Korean man and lived in Korea. Don’t get me wrong. Korea is a wonderful country and a fascinating destination for a holiday. However, life in Korea as a married working woman is hard. If you have a full title of ‘married full time working mum’, that’s thousand times worse. It’s because everybody expects you to be a superwoman (pressure pressure!) and it’s taken for granted. Put it this way – if you fail to become one, you’re not only ‘okayed’ but also considered to be an unforgivable sinner. When it comes to food preparation, it’s tormenting. Well, it’s better explained a bit more. I will give you an example how Koreans eat.

Typically each and every meal is composed of a bowl of rice, a clear soup (could be meat-based/seafood based or miso based), a main focal dish, a Kimchi (there are many kinds) and three or four different small side dishes (they are called ‘banchan‘). There are a range of banchans you can make, the whole table could go as simple as from this (source: google image) –

To this (source: google image).

And it is not even close to the maximum extent you can go. Practically there’s no limit how far you can go.

My mum used to do that all the time and my family just ate it and sometimes demanded what they wanted to eat. She had to develop different banchans to satisfy picky clients. When I was at school, she even had to make a lunch box on a daily basis. At some point, she had to make six lunch/dinner boxes for my brother, sister and myself due to our timely age gaps! It’s not a simple ham and cheese sandwich with an apple like you see here in the western country. It’s a scale-down proper meal including everything we eat at home. Something like this. (By the way I’ve come across this lovely blog about delicious Korean foods and recipes while I was looking for a lunch box photo.)

Food is a big deal in Korea.

I will probably have to dedicate a few separate posts to Korean cuisine alone. As you can imagine, I was supposed to become like my mum when I grew up though I never thought I could be as capable as her. I admired her as a skilled cook and all, but on the other hand I saw the whole food preparation thing as a tremendous burden. I thought to myself, ‘Things should be simple or there should be a way of making it simple, shouldn’t it? If not, it’s not worth doing it so let other experts do it, i.e.pay. :-).’

Anyway whether it was a coincidence or my subconscious enforcement of avoiding it all, Mark happens to be non-Korean and he doesn’t have a childhood memory of ‘his mother’s grand dinner with twenty-odds banchans’. I must say it’s quite liberating for me.

As I posted here, I don’t spend too much time in cooking. I leave ‘extravagant’ cooking to special occasions like Sandra’s birthday and I plan them well in advance.

Today I’ve found an interesting article on the net and read it with a smile on because these are already my favourite ingredients. I believe you don’t have to spend tons of money to get well-fed day in and day out. You can make a yummy and nutritiously balanced dish out of cheap and fresh ingredients. Once you’re well fed it doesn’t matter if it was a boeuf bourguignon or a lobster with chardonnay sauce. After a 15 minutes of chewing and swallowing activities, the only sensation left to you will be how satisfied you are. If you have a special dish on a special day, that will be more meaningful – at least I think so. 🙂

Below is the original post and I copied and pasted the summary.

1. If You Want Fiber, Buy Dried Black Beans.
2. If You Want Fiber, Buy Popcorn Kernels.
3. If You Want Protein, Buy Eggs.
4. If You Want Protein, Buy Canned Tuna (water packed).
5. If You Want Calcium, Buy Nonfat Milk.
6. If You Want Calcium, Yogurt.
7. If You Want Vitamin A, Buy Canned Pumpkin.
8. If You Want Potassium, Buy Potatoes.
As I write this post, I’ve also found this article elsewhere. This sounds pretty good and… surprise surprise! – I frequently use them too apart from Tofu (not available all the time) and Coffee (not a coffee drinker any more).

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6 thoughts on “Chronicle of a lazy cook

  1. Mark on said:

    I’m getting hungry again

  2. I totally understand what you are saying! I always looked for quicker, easier ways to cook when I was working full time. I really did not see a point in spending so much time on everyday cooking until I got older and had more time. And probably became more nostalgic too..And love your explanation on how Koreans eat. I will have to link that on my blog next time!

    • I think my transition was rather fast because I was quite ok not to eat rice for months and months . My mum still asks me what on earth I eat if I don’t eat rice, haha!

      I’m going back to Korea this March to see my family. I’ve got craving for ‘oddeng’.

      Have a nice day!

  3. I loooove Korean food (coincidentally Spanish food too :))

    I agree, one of the absolute challenges in our ‘modern times’ is that everything needs to be fast, streamlined and still brilliant. Still working myself and (starting my part time study) training as a chef has really challenged me this year. There’s definitely the gourmet expectation from loved ones lol, even though I only get a few times (to actually cook for myself) anymore!!!

    I relish those opportunities to enjoy when (you do) have the time, especially with those nearest and dearest in our lives!!!

    • Please adopt me! lol

      I just can’t wait till Saturday…We normally go out for lunch! I just love anybody who cooks for me, though I need to pay him/her, haha!

      Have a lovely day. I’m enjoying reading your blog.

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