Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

With my family by my side


Lots of things have happened since my last post but Mum has not been in the right frame of mind to write since my Nenek (Grandma) became very ill. Nenek has recovered, Thank God but is still a bit weak. We will be celebrating her 83rd birthday this weekend. Yay, you know how I love birthdays. In fact we celebrated my sister’s 14th birthday two weeks ago. Mum and sis spent the day together doing “girlie stuff” which I think meant shopping and that meant I couldn’t follow. I thought I could at least suggest my favorite restaurants for the birthday dinner venue….. TGIF, Chili’s, Swiss Marche. Apparently sis did not appreciate the “help”. Well, she sure took like forever to decide (which annoyed me) and I was relieved when she finally choose Italian. I was afraid she might pick Japanese food which I have not acquired a taste for.

I was again trying be of help when I suggested birthday gifts for her. She was horrified at my suggestion of a frock. Frock? WHO uses that word?? she demands. Ok, ok dress then!! I said. That did not help much cos it was definitely not what she wanted. Mum explained that little sis has grown up and the stuff that she now prefers have also changed. There we go again, that word “change”. Of course I have noticed the changes. I noticed the toys she has given away, the cartoons we don’t watch together anymore and how upset she gets when I forget to knock before I enter her room. I still cannot understand this thing called ‘change’ but it’s always followed by Mum telling me that its okay, everything will be alright.

Last week we gathered for a family barbeque in Nenek’s newly renovated gazebo. It’s been a long time since we had one and boy did we make up for it. Mum made lamb sausages smothered with a Greek yoghurt sauce which I cannot pronounce the name of, yummy scalloped potatoes and a rich chocolate trifle to add to the spread of satay, chicken, shrimp, squid, pasta, garlic bread and even grilled pumpkins. Everything was perfect except we missed brother who was away at campus. Lunch lasted for almost 4 hours!. Surprisingly, come dinner time we still found space for my aunt’s coriander rice, prawn sambal and a nice Malaysian salad. What a fun, gastronomical day but the most wonderful thing everyone agreed, was the lovely sight of Nenek sitting, laughing and eating with us….like her old self.

P.S We were so busy eating, we forgot to take photos of the fantastic BBQ! I do however, have a pic of sis at her birthday dinner. Sis was beaming with pleasure when Mum congratulated her choice of a superb, adult restaurant.

Sis really enjoyed that dessert

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

It’s my birthday!


I love love love birthdays! Every October 9th I am THE MOST SPECIAL PERSON in the world. That’s how it feels. What’s so special? Well, for starters, I get to name WHATEVER restaurant I wish to have my birthday dinner. Nobody says ‘No’ to me. I get to eat sweet, sugary stuff. Of course there are the presents. I often get money as presents. Excuse me if I don’t seem delighted to receive money as a birthday present. I understand the general idea  of money… it buys you stuff etc but I haven’t quite grasped the different values of money. I mean I don’t know when to shout out with joy….when I receive a RM100 or a RM1 as a gift. That’s because I have no idea what RM100 can buy compared to RM1. Mum tried teaching me the value of money for years but in this one she has not succeeded.

I want to dress like that

I often misplaced money when I was young. This is what happened a number of times with my Hari Raya money so I was trained to surrender it to Mum for safe-keeping asap. The first time I earned my own money was when I got paid for working in the staff cafeteria of a hotel as part of an industrial placement scheme for children from Special Education stream. When Mum asked what I wanted to do with the salary I asked Mum to buy me a vest, a cowboy hat and boots. Mum was so puzzled until I explained that I wanted to be like Woody in Toy Story 2, my favorite movie at that time. She explained that people don’t dress that way in real life and I will look very odd indeed. Sometimes I think ‘real life’ is a very boring place.

Anyway, for today real life is not at all boring. I’m looking forward to the dinner. However this year I had to promise not to choose a Tex-Mex restaurant. Seems everyone but me is sick of it. Before dinner they promised to take me to a karaoke where I can sing my heart out. Today nobody can take the mike away from me unless I willingly give it up….which I won’t. The only thing I had to promise was to pick other songs besides Disney and oh yes, to use my own voice instead of mimicking others. I do a pretty mean version of  ‘Thriller’….dance steps and all (well it depends who you ask). I hope you will have as good a birthday as I’m gonna have today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!!

May you live all the days of your life. – Jonathan Swift

P.S I will post pics of my birthday later.

Still feasting


It feels like a non-stop buffet, these Hari Raya open house invitations. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to complain. I love to eat but I hear Mum and Dad exclaiming how they have put on more weight these last two weeks than any lost (if any) during a whole month of fasting. Mum says I’m lucky that I can stay slim when I have such a big appetite


"Frogs have it easy. They can eat what bugs them."

Frankly, I would take 3 helpings of Mum’s pasta if I was allowed to. She limits it to 2 maximum because she says anything more is simply greed. Thank God Mum makes an exception during festivities. During this time we eat till we’re stuffed. Since I relate well to animals, Mum <—- showed me this photo and said this is what we look like when we overeat.

The Open House invitations still keeps coming. There’s two tomorrow. I guess that’s to be expected coming from a large family on both sides of parents. I have 3 sets of cousins though whose fathers are non-Malays. They would often say how lucky we are to get duit Raya (money given as gifts given during the festival) from all our older cousins, uncles, aunties and granduncles on Dad’s side. Comes Christmas and we 3 siblings go green with envy looking at the gifts our cousins get from their uncles and aunties on their father’s side. But that’s what makes our Family so interesting and different from others. We present a diversity of nationalities, languages and skin colors! At first my 3 uncles could not understand how we Malays could eat non-stop throughout the day during the festivals. It took them a few years before they themselves got into the swing of things and can now keep up with us. My uncles said understanding our complex extended family tree was much harder to do. LOL.

Iwan, Johann, Andreas & Kak Lin...and there's alot more

Here’s a photo of some of my cousins doing their favorite thing… EATING

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are  doing and devote our attention to eating.  ~Luciano Pavarotti


Of festivals and feasting


SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all Malaysians and a Happy Eid Mubarak for the rest of the world. Another year of completion of the month of fasting.

I'm on the right in my usual stiff pose. Behind us is Granduncle's kampung (village) house.

Last week we went back to Linggi, our kampung (village, hometown) to celebrate Hari Raya with our huge extended family. How huge? Picture a football-sized field (almost) with dozens of parked cars and a sizeable canopy enough to shield close to a  hundred people from the sun while they enjoyed a hearty feast. I do not know half of the family and I don’t remember the names of the half that I do know. Festivals like these are more often for me just blurred memories filled with laughter (of other people), lots of food and relatives dressed in their best. The part I like best about going back to the kampung is the chance to pet and feed the baby goats that belong to grand-uncle.

It used to be a terrible, tormented time for me because I would keep my hands pressed on my ears to keep out the painful noise and when it got too much I would just sit and cry for hours. Mum refused to stay away or keep me secluded in a quiet room. She kept whispering “it’s alright, we will overcome” as she rocked me back and forth. And I did overcome. By the time I was 5 years old  I was able to join in the festivities without freaking out. The next thing I had to learn was to fight the temptation of  the sweet stuff. It was everywhere I looked, unlike at home where there wasn’t a trace of sugar due to my strict no-sugar diet. You can’t imagine what it’s like to see the spread of mouth-watering desserts and not being allowed to eat it. Of course, the ugly tantrums made its appearance. Relatives told Mum to relax, let the poor kid have some…after all it’s Hari Raya. Mum did not budge. The only exception she made was to allow me the colorful non-aerated drinks…….diluted so much that it tasted like plain water but I was none the wiser.

Road sign named after my great-grandfather

This road is named after my great-grandfather, Dato' Hj Mohd Yusof. A school behind me is also named after him.

On the way home, Dad stopped by a road sign and told me that the school and road was named after my great-grandfather, Haji Mohd Yusof. Wow, I think its cool to have a school AND road named after you don’t you think? Never mind if it’s just a small road in the village. It means my great-grandfather must have played an important role in the community and this is the way he is honored and remembered by the said community. He was known to be a serious, highly respected man whose occupation was then known as  ‘visiting school inspector’. Mum said I may never have a road named after me but hey, I have a blog in my name. That’s pretty cool too.

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” –

Calvin Coolidge, American 30th President of the U.S.A

Today makes 10


It’s been 10 days of fasting now. I have not missed any even though Mum overslept once and we missed sahur (meal before sunrise). That day was a tough one. The oh-so-hot weather didn’t help either. Mum felt so bad about it but I told her that I understand. She said if I can’t handle it it’s okay to break my fast. But it’s not okay with me to give up…. and I didn’t. So she cooked a grand meal as a reward and more than made it up to me. I ate till I could barely move. Now that’s not such a good idea cos prayers required much bending and kneeling. Needless to say I was groaning with each effort but nobody minded.

Last weekend I had a fun sahur with my family and a load of cousins. They took me to a 24-hour McDonald’s. So there I was eating a GBC at 3 o’clock in the morning in a restaurant FULL OF PEOPLE! You’d never guess it was in the middle of the night. Completely different from my healthy sahur meal of cereal, bread and a 2-0z shot of Vemma vitamin. Later that evening I wanted to break fast at Burger King but Mum said No Way Jose will she eat at two fast food restaurants on the same day. I don’t get it. What’s not to like about that?

Last evening I reminded Mum August 31st was coming soon.  She asked “What about it? Do you want to watch the National Day Parade?”

My parent's 25th Anniversary

Uh, nooo. I meant it’s a special day (Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary) so we should eat out at a nice restaurant. See, that’s the way I always start a conversation when I am planning something in my head. I point out a date, an event or very often I ask a question which I already know the answer to. For some reason some people find this quite annoying. They ask in exasperation “why do you ask a question when you already know the answer to it!!?”. I don’t know. I just do. That’s MY way. The way I see it, the sooner everyone accepts it, the better. So there.

“He who asks qu estions cannot avoid the answers” – Cameroon proverb