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The Diary of Anne Ku


26 May 2000 Friday  rainy, like winter again

Necessity is the mother of invention.  I started cooking at 12 when my mother left to visit my grandmother.  She instructed me to defrost the meals she had prepared beforehand.  By the time she came back, I had learned not only how to defrost and reheat her pre-cooked meals, but also how to improvise.

Throughout my teenage years, I would experiment with different spices and ingredients while actively collecting recipes from magazines and library books.  Eventually my repertoire extended to proprietary A LA KU dishes such as the famous "Chicken a la Ku."

I was therefore very surprised to discover that most women my age did not know how to cook.  It seems that they never needed to know because their mothers were so proficient.  My friend Yasmin, for instance, would get her mom to cook in the afternoon and bring it over for her to reheat in the evening.   In fact, the only dish she could make was gingered peas and rice.  She was a busy career woman who did not have time or the inclination to cook.

Two years later, after retiring from her profession, Yasmin invited me to her new home for dinner.  She asked what I'd like to eat.   I said, "I miss your gingered peas and rice."  She responded confidently,  "But Anne, I can make other things, you know."  I was still very skeptical until I tried her casserole-baked salmon fillet.  Even though it was undoubtedly the most tender and succulent fish dish I had had in months, I still wondered whether it was a mere coincidence that she moved her mom to a new house ten minutes away.