Welcome to my kitchen epic blog. Thank you for stopping by.
My name is Retno. I am an Indonesian living in The Netherlands.
Food and kitchen, the corner where it’s produced, have always been part of me and my life.
As far as I remember, I started helping my mother in the kitchen when I was 8 or 9 years old. Starting with rolling and shapping the dough of Christmas cookies (yaayyy!!), pealing a handful of shallots and garlics that made tears running down my face, I went to a further level, frying eggs. And so on… and so on.
One day, during the end of Ramadhan period when the maid took some days off to go back to her family in the village, my older sister and I offered our mother to go to the market to buy some vegetables she might need for cooking that day’s meal. I still remember vividly the expression on mother’s face. She was stunned. So surprised that her 10 and 9 year old daughters for the very first time offered her such favour. Well, we did not have supermarkets on those days. Everything for kitchen’s daily need should be bought from the traditional markets. We did have one quite close to our home. Just 5-minute walk.
Smiling happily and proud she accepted the offer. Then she wrote a shopping list to help us remember the things we needed to buy. When we asked which sellers we should buy this and that mentioned in the list from, she said, “You may buy the things from any sellers. I am already very thankful and happy that you give a hand. It will already save my time and energy. Here is the money. Don’t forget to always check and count the change before you leave the stand, please.” So we left. My sister and me. And so began the story of our food and cooking journeys until today. My older sister’s and mine. My younger sister’s started a bit later as we have some 5,5 and 4,5 year age differences. But she has since long become a really good home cook.
Under the guidance of our loving mother the three of us have grown our interest in and love for food and cooking further. Not only the recipes but also about the behaviour, attitude, techniques and tips. Once my mother said, “Cooking food is easy. But how to cook food and to keep the whole kitchen clean and tidy at the same time, that is what you really need to learn. For that is difficult.” All these years I have been learning to do it and have proved what she said was nothing but right.
My father has taken his own part on our journeys. During our dinner, every now and then, he would tell stories about food. The food with which he has been raised in his family. My father does not really cook, though he cooks more nowadays than he used to in the previous years. But he has love for food. And I admire his knowledge in traditional food and in the process of making it all.
There used to be my mother’s old recipe books, my parents’ childhood memories, recipes published in women’s magazines as well as mouth-to-mouth spreaded ones in our extended family and friend circles. But the technology has become so much more advanced today in the world of media, that I can go further in much easier ways to fulfill my curiousity in food and cooking.
The fact that I am married to a Dutch man has enriched my journey in food and cooking and made it even more colorful. Especially because Ron, my husband, loves cooking, too. And he comes from different culture and tradition. He has his own knowledge and stories about food and cooking. And he shares it all with me willingly and happily. And the whole journey has become even more fun. Especially because it is no longer MY journey, but it has become OUR journey.. :)
Since late 2005 Ron has started taking pictures of the food I cook daily. Also of the food we have while dining out. Slowly I started to follow him. We both do not have any knowledge in photography though. We simply click. It’s been more for our own personal documentary. And it has always been fun to see all those photos again. Somehow they stimulate the will and the creativity to reproduce the same food but in a bit different way or style. Or to produce a bit different food using the same ingredients and techniques. Or to reproduce exactly the same food using the same technique but with improved behaviour and attitude so that the whole cooking process can be more systematic and efficient so that I can save time and energy.
Just recently, when I saw some of those old photos about food, a question crossed my mind. Why don’t I store the photos in a more organized way, accompanied — somewhere — with stories as their background. It’s because there’s almost always a story behind each food that I make and produce in my tiny little kitchen. Besides, then I also can share these photos and stories with other people outside my family circle. It will be more fun.
So, that’s how and why this blog was created. And yes, it’s been fun, indeed.
All photos in this blog are clicked by me or Ron, my husband, unless they are mentioned otherwise.
The last but not the least, I wish you a nice time reading kitchen epic. Please feel free to contact me at retnopudjiastuti at yahoo dot com. And your comments are most welcome.
– Retno –