Monday, August 30, 2010


At exactly 7 AM this morning as in every weekday morning, my michael is out of our door. I would kiss him goodbye, bid him take care and then lock the gates.

And yet this morning is different from every morning of the almost three months we were together, I do not relish the site that greets me in our small house as I close the door behind me. There is a gargantuan of dishes that needed to be washed as we were both too tired from last night and the breakfast stuff also got added into it.

The furniture is in disarray and boxes, bags from our weekend stay in Manila litter the floor.
I checked out our dirty laundry box and found it to be full. I checked out the trash bin in the kitchen area and found it full as well.

I checked out our refrigerator and found nothing there except a few garlic and some unused monggo beans and a few malunggay leaves.Meaning a trip to the market is needed.

I checked my blackberry phone and found I had lots of catch up stuff I need to do for work today given the holiday yesterday.

I saw some gelatin and condensed milk and got inspired to prepare dessert later for my michael when he comes back at around 6 pm.Im thinking that plus the mongo dinner will be sufficient and I didn't need to go out to the market today.

But for some reason, the enthusiasm died. I went over the sala area and opened the newly bought LCD TV. There is nothing really good to watch so I just lingered on to watch the tantrums and concerns of overgrown girls in Canada's Next Top Model.

And probably for a good couple of hours I just sat down mindlessly watching a show that I didn't really much care about.

And then it struck me. I am not a princess. This is not a fairy tale. I am not that girl that plays house with her toy kitchen wares anymore who will ask a friend that is a boy to pretend he is my husband so we can play husband and wife. My yaya will not suddenly appear from nowhere asking me to go home, stop playing because its getting late. I am a grown woman. I am married. I have a husband that will come home to a dirty house with no food in the table if I don't get up from where I have been sitting lazily for hours.

I cannot let the lack of enthusiasm get in the way of what needs to be done or the responsibilities assigned me and I have taken upon myself.

I got up , checked the cupboard and found a single pack of chicken noodles. I smiled. So now I realize why at my mother's house in Las Pinas, we never ran out of noodles and had like  a dozen of it available at any given time. It is for times like this when one needs "magic" . Instant noodles, instant energy, instant "feel good". Let me have  my cup first and then maybe I can still do that gelatin later plus all the other stuff....because I'm not a princess but I am a wife.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Making of a Cook-Wife

When some of my husband’s friends visited us one weekend, I made a comment that made them laugh. I told them I have cooked more in the almost two months I’m married than in all my single life combined.

I don’t cook. That’s where I’m categorized at amongst family and friends. For me then, there is more to life than cooking. I was used to living life to the fullest as able. Domesticity to me is sort of like an imprisonment. A lazy Sunday would mean either a TV marathon, take-out PIZZA plus finishing a good book or a big let’s go to the MALL and watch a movie event, my treat. When we have guests at home, Andok’s never let us down plus a can of ice cream. Spaghetti is the most complicated dish I would have tried that is done on a regular basis. And even when I would be excited to cook something, nobody shares my excitement so I just kind of let it die without trying.

But somewhere deep inside I knew I had some sort of affinity to cooking. When I was able to have my own condo unit thus my own kitchen, I started to discover the benefits of cooking. One is it keeps my mind off things. Cooking helps me focus on the task at hand and not overwork my mind about the emotional turmoil of my life or the mental stress from work. It calms me in essence and that is very important especially for such a hyperactive individual like me. I just can’t sit still.

And now just today, I can’t believe I have spent the entire morning watching cooking shows on TV. I watched interestingly as Danica Sotto made this soup with Dina B. on” Full time Moms” perfect for the rainy season , then I went on to watch “Sarap at home” as they churned out tuna kebabs ,” my favorite recipe” came up with sirloin steak curry and pansit molo and afterwards “Quickfire”s Menudo by Rosebud was a delight by using real tomatoes.

No, I did not grab a pen and paper to jot down the recipes, everything was just mentally stored for future use. I learned early on not to depend on recipes when cooking. They are just guide. I make my own rules. I cook what’s there, what I feel like, and I don’t measure things because I don’t want to repeat myself. I want every dish I cook to be unique never to be replicated because I never remember what I put in it exactly and how much. My main thing is the result and whether my hubby would put his thumbs up. I substitute ingredients very liberally as my resources are limited. The outcome is of course always something different than expected and that’s how I want it to be.

And since my husband is fond of soups, I do not have any fear of things going wrong so I’m a bit brave in this area. You can never burn a soup and/ or cook it prematurely especially when it comes to vegetables. If it’s a little under cooked then its good because raw is better for the health. If you simmer it longer than usual, the aroma sinks in more so it acquires a richer distinct taste. And I learned that when things get really bad, the salt and pepper tandem always come to the rescue plus you can do things over with a little more water.

My boss, who happens to be not that fond of cooking told me it is not really the cooking that turns her off but the cleaning after. And yes, sad to say… it goes with the territory. But through time, you learn to be more efficient, less messy . You learn to not cry when you chop onions or look with dread at all the chopping you still need to do before you combine everything on the pot like what they show in TV or you learn to protect yourself from the mini accidents of hot oil and wounded fingers. Blood and pain is all part of the experience.

My husband will be home in 4 hours. I’m off to cook my Broccoli with toasted almonds version for dinner. We play this game when he arrives, the what’s the name of the meal I cooked. And it’s fun.

We can surprise even ourselves sometimes. We become people we never thought we will be if we just try. So folks, next time you ask me, do I cook? I will reply back…. Like a Pro…:)  And for those who will not believe me, you are welcome to drop by my home and taste my creations.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ants Out!

They came with a sudden force that I was caught totally unprepared for the battle ahead. With just a lift of that rice box I kept in the corner, they came scurrying out, filling all available space in the kitchen counter. I can’t seem to trace where they were coming from. My first instinct was to protect myself. I jumped up and down ridding my entire body of the little squirmy things. They were all over my neck, arms and legs. I could see small red swells developing everywhere in my skin. And then I got a little braver. After the momentary shock, I grabbed the rice box and rid it of its contents. But they remain scampering in the table despite the removal of the object.

Drown them! That was the first thing my mind registered. I immediately went to get water and then doused the flat surface with water and using a rag directed all towards the kitchen sink. Many perished.

I breathed a little sigh of relief and got to mixing detergent with water and cleaning the entire surface. I went back to the rice and placed them in a plastic bag, sealed them tight before putting them back to the now ant-free rice box.

Little did I know that such battle would just be the first of many encounters. The following day, they were back with a vengeance, not only did they invade the kitchen as they milled around a forgotten cooked rice grain hidden behind the rice cooker but they can now be found even in one of the rooms. I have this big box I kept in the corner to contain my excess clothes that could no longer fit in our cabinet dresser. I was trying to find some old clothes I could give away when lo and behold, all my clothes inside have these tiny pests covering them.

I told myself, I need to fight this intelligently. I went to the internet and googled for immediate tools I can use. And there I saw Johnson’s baby powder and apple cider vinegar. It also mentioned cinnamon and borax but I don’t have them handy in my place. I removed the boxes and moved them outside the house. The apple cider vinegar I was saving for my vegetable salad became my weapon of choice I diluted it with water and then doused the floor with it. I was relentless. I mopped my entire floor with vinegar. I cleaned all the corners of the kitchen cabinets and the table top with vinegar. I was it for 3 long hours. But finally it was done, the place was clean and smelly. I got the air freshener and sprayed everywhere. I took the Johnson’s baby powder and sprinkled them in the kitchen counter, the corners of the kitchen cabinet and even in our dining table where even the banana I placed there was not spared.

I’m getting used to the small bites. But I know I will need to strengthen myself for further onslaught.

My neighbor told me that our house is sitting on top of a former sugar agriculture land thus the ants are common here in Nasugbu, Batangas. The only real remedy is to maintain cleanliness and be vigilant with left-over food and make sure everything is sealed and out of the enemy’s smell and reach.

My husband is out during the day when they usually time their visits so I will be alone in this battle.

Let the battle begin …