Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cooking Lesson

After three years of dormitory living, Chris decided to rent a house in Ballard for his senior year at SPU. He moved in shortly after returning from his trip to Slovakia this summer. He shares the older duplex with four buddies from school and finds the new environment and style of living an adventure. I remember back to my days, senior year of college, when I moved into the top floor of a house on State Street in Ithaca, NY about a half mile from campus, with four other girls. It was great fun to live in an older house with creaky wooden floors, a bedroom of my own, a tiny kitchen and dining area and the company of girlfriends that got along well. We did a lot of cooking for each other that year and that brings me to what’s going on with Chris right now; he is becoming the designated cook for the guys in his house. Although he has been a master at whipping up breakfasts (migas especially) for years, Chris's culinary repertoire has been limited until now. He is eager to learn all he can from Denny and me about how to prepare home cooked favorites. We’ve decided to get together once a week if we can to teach him something new in the realm of good cooking.

Several days ago it was “Babi Ketjap” night. He brought the pork loin and we supplied the instruction and the exotic and not so exotic ingredients to create this family favorite. This recipe has been prepared and enjoyed literally hundreds of times in our family from special occasions to very ordinary meals. The dish became a favorite dating back decades when Mom attended an Indonesian cooking class taught by a Dutch woman in Aruba. Chris asked the obvious question: what did living in Aruba have to do with Indonesian cuisine? I explained the connection between Holland and Indonesia and how Dutch colonies, like Aruba were influenced by not only Dutch favorites like bitterballen and krokettenbut by Indonesian dishes like babi ketjap, satays with peanut sauce, gado-gado and chicken in coconut milk; all part of the Dutch Rijsttafelor rice table. If you lived in Aruba, you ate Indonesian food, either home cooked or at restaurants like the Bali, a floating boat docked at the harbor in Oranjestad. Chris also learned how to select an under ripe, green plantain (the Caribbean influence), slice and fry it up into delectable “chips” and to prepare the rice to accompany the meal. The food tasted great and he can now add these recipes to his book of favorites that he will prepare for his buddies and someday for his own family. It makes me happy to see him take pleasure in preparing good food; always a worthy skill, fun and best of all, he wants to learn from his Mom and Dad. How often does that happen so openly? I love it.


  1. What a lovely activity to be sharing right now with Chris. Perhaps I should get another copy printed of the family cookbook I made a couple of Chirstmas's ago and give it to him for the holidays.

  2. I made Babi Ketjap the other night! And ate leftovers today for lunch. It's a staple in our house too...


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