Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Day I Run Out Of Cooking Gas

One day, I ran out of gas and cash! So I tried to cook the old fashioned way - using charcoal and unused wood cuttings. I must admit that the exercise turned out to be quite a humbling experience.

For some time I have been guilty of being used to convenient and fast cooking methods - like gas ranges, electric stoves, microwave ovens, and other electrical conveniences which require little physical exertion simply because all that is needed is plug them in or switch them on.

The cooking activity turned out to be taxing and took more than twice the time it normally does when cooking on gas or electric stoves. I had to run in and out of the kitchen because the make -shift cooking stove was set-up outside. I felt I spent the whole morning waiting for the rice to cook (Okay, an exaggeration). Now if you are wondering why there is no mention of an electric rice cooker, it is because I have none. I ditched it so I can save on electricity bill.

Cooking the sud-an was worse. It took a lot of fanning and some puffing to create enough heat. And it seemed like - I am again waiting forever for the whole thing to boil and cook. And because I was not adept in making a good fire, I was constantly enveloped by smoke. I thought it was a miracle I survived suffocation.
Now don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the whole process. In fact I wanted to experience this method of cooking. Why? because my lolas on both sides survived a lifetime of cooking by wood, yet there was never any complaint - of too much smoke, or of dirt by soot. In truth, a lot of households in our area, those who can not afford the expensive LPG gas or electricity, still continue to cook this way. Their little children would patiently gather tree cuttings, unused wood, or even wood shavings. Maybe because it has always been this way for them, they never complain. I realized if we need to survive hard times we must learn how to adjust and be patient...

And so my day ended... hands covered with soot, red eyed and all - but still able to survive gracefully. What did I accomplished? A delicious, slow-cooked, aromatic, smoky-flavored meal!

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