My Philosophy

You can cook. And you can keep improving on it.

That is the confidence you need to have as you seek to cook better meals for your family and friends. And of course, for yourself.

Unless you are blessed, as I once was with a pro chef at home, you know you are on your own when you want to eat your favourite dishes. Even till today, I am blessed by a mum-in-law who cooks occasionally for us. But apart from that, the Wong family needs to take care of our daily bread.

Let me get this straight.

Love for cooking and eating well need not be equated with gluttony. I love cooking and enjoy what I eat. But I do not think about food all the time. I can very easily skip a meal, as my office colleagues can tell you of my rather bad habit of irregular lunch meals. My breakfast is mostly a cup of coffee and not much else. In fact, I am not even sure I am a "foodie." Often, I don't go out of my way in search of good food. I can be happy with something simple and convenient.

But cooking is creative art and carries with it centuries of culture. In my case, it is a Malaysian mix of Hakka, Cantonese, Nonya, with some Malay and Indian influence thrown into the fray. And going beyond my mum's dishes, I have been busy with Western, Japanese and Thai dishes as well.

Since young, cuisine is a curiousity to me and I always ask, "How did they make this?"

Just as a techie loves to pull apart an electrical gadget, I love to "deconstruct" a dish and try to retrace the steps. I have often wondered what has gone into the dish. It is my habit to peek into the kitchens at a restaurant after a good meal. If you have the eye for it - and elsewhere I have talked about my growing up in the world of kitchens - you can see a lot.

And cooking is about practising hospitality. If you have a gift and interest, isn't it great that you can use it to bring joy to others? I enjoy cooking for huge parties and the exciting vibes of food preparation work and cooking with a team. It reminds me of my childhood days of helping in my Mum's restaurants.

I am a pastor and my work and ministry is 24/7. I do love my work but I do not want to spend every waking moment thinking about it. So, I have discovered that I need to grow other interests to add balance to my life. In fact, I have found that giving needful attention to other areas i.e. family relationships, friends and hobbies actually enhance my ministry. And what I like about cooking is how it complements my work well. I use the 'downtime' hours where I am less likely to be found attending a meeting or preparing a sermon. I do not get to cook daily, but there are sufficient moments of that on a weekly basis which brings a balance to life.

To be able to cook for a huge party at church and to learn to lead a food team is a dream come true. 
Apart from cooking, I also enjoy music, writing, reading, photography, web design and some sports. God has created life in all it's breadth and beauty and we should certainly live it as well as we can, with His help and grace. Most of these things can be enjoyed inexpensively.

I know this is suppose to be an article on home cooking tips. But I thought I should get these thoughts off my chest first. If you are reading this article up till this point, it is likely that you have some interest in cooking. Perhaps even see it as a duty to serve your family. Treasure that gift and interest. You do not need to cook better than someone else. And sometimes, you may fail miserably, as I often have. And during these moments, one can lose confidence. Just keep at it and develop an interest to learn. It is often said that to improve as a cook, you need to be 'humble.' That is true for about any other area in your life as having such an attitude gives you a learning posture. Just about anyone can teach you something about cooking.

And if no one appreciates your cooking, just cook to please yourself and give thanks to God before you eat. The joy of having a home cooked meal which you have first enjoyed making, and then, eating, is a satisfying experience. When we cook, like our Maker, we create. Creativity is a special gift. When you create music, a poem, a piece of prose or food, you come closer to the One who has made you in His image.

Cook to serve others and God. It will bring you great and satisfying pleasure to the end of your days.