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The very first time I learned how to cook: stir fried eggs

I have developed a really bad homesick lately, or, more precisely, missing my dad — talking to him on the phone is no longer enough to ease down my longing for being by his side.

It all started couple of weeks ago, when I went to swim, I saw a dad accompanying his two children there, a daughter and a son, probably aged in between 17 to 20? The dad would lead the way in the water, the children followed, sometimes they would rest for a little while, chat and laugh… — A very warm and touching scene in the splash that no words can describe.

— I could not help, but the scene that when I was swimming with my dad and brother years ago back home coming to me, we swam, chatted, laughed… But now I can only talk to him on the phone, tell him how my swimming was last night. Who says nowadays the globe is getting smaller with all the advanced technologies? I can hear him on the phone, can see him through the internet, but I cannot get him hold my hands, and I cannot grab his arms like I used to do…

Oh, miss my dad, he is the one who led me to understand this world from the very first step. He taught me everything, from speaking, walking, to literature, philosophy, art, cooking… and to how to become a good person.

So I write down this post to share my first cooking memory with you. 

The first time I learned how to use a cooking knife, I was probably five. My hand held the big heavy Chinese knife, and dad’s hand held mine, one chop and another.

The first time I learned to cook properly, I was around 8 or 9. My head and shoulders were just over the cooker, and at that time, lighting a match and turning on the fire was a most scary thing.

So my cooking lesson started with using the matches. Being held by my dad’s hand, I practiced again and again how to rub the match against the matchbox to light up the fire.

My first dish was ‘Chinese stir fried scrambled eggs’ — the simplest dish. Chinese stir-fryied eggs is probably the easiest, most basic, yet most useful dish among all the Chinese dishes. And it can be easily developed into many other dishes, for example, stir-frying egg and tomato, stir-frying egg and green pepper, stir-frying rice, or make it into the fillings of dumplings… I can go on and on.

My lesson started with how to ‘crack’ the egg’s shell. Dad said, ‘don’t crack it too hard, otherwise it would spill out, but not too light either, otherwise it would be still difficult to ‘open’ the shell.’ Then he showed me how to put the two thumbs in to open the egg’s shell from the cracker, and let the egg nicely ‘drop’ into a bowl.  Then, use the chopstick whisk it well — mix the yolk and white well together, after adding a little bit salt, stir well — the colour of the raw eggs would turn a little bit darker.

Turn on the fire, pour in 2 tablespoons of oil, when the oil is hot, add in the whisked egg, and keep on stirring. Until the ‘liquid’ egg becomes firm and golden colour, it is done. — When it was done, I still remember how proud I was when everyone at the dining table was eating the dish I made, and how proud my dad was eating his daughter’s first dish.

Since then, I carried on learning how to cook many other dishes. Dad never really said anything to me, until one day I met his colleagues, everyone came to me, said, ‘your dad is so proud of you, he always tells us what you have been cooking for him, and you are a very good cook.’

– Now, all I wish is to cook for him everyday…


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