Fight World Hunger

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The meaning of hunger

You just gotta love the recession. It gives you more time to spend with family and loved ones, with good measure left to do what you like doing. I want to say 'what you do best', but I'm unsure if what you like doing is what you do best, it may be the case for some but not others. I believe in talent, however the old timer in me believes that you develop your skill set with repetition and commitment.

One of the things that tops my To Do list is cooking not only by interest but of late, by necessity. Everyone's gotta eat! We are in many ways blessed with the abundance and variety presented before us. Of course the downside is that we probably consume more than the 2100 calories that we actually need per day as a healthy diet. These days, I am constantly surprised at the raw ingredients that we can get our hands on, the latest being real vanilla pods from Madagascar. I grew up using those artificial vanilla extracts in little bottles that resemble those 2-shot liquor they serve in planes, so you see that this opened up a whole different world of baking.

I have also recently met a few aspiring chefs too. Chefs I feel are like photographers, are like artists most of whom are obvious know-it-alls: You just can't really talk to them, their info probably came from spending too much time on the Food Channel. I think that for every wannabe chef there are 10 wannabe foodies. For the record, I hate the word foodie, or anything cutesy that ends with an 'ie'. I don't know who came up with that word but that fella ought to be shot.

We have so much food we end up talking about food, we end up criticizing food, and having a channel dedicated to food. This post is not about food but rather, the lack of it.

I've come across the World Food Programme (WFP) before but I don't know if I was too busy or too indifferent to bother. That sort of attitude perhaps describes more than half of us who if nothing happens, will assume everything is fine. I was only reminded when I was watching Letterman last night and President Clinton was on, and he was talking about the Clinton Initiative which was an interesting concept where you go out offer assistance to the people who need it by making a commitment. It is not that we can't, and with just a little effort, money, time, or skill we can allocate any of these things to the people who need it most.

And then today I had the time to sit down and read look through the entire WFP site. As you and I are sitting down awaiting or preparing our next meal, about a billion people will go to bed hungry. What more, the worst hit are women and children, and just 25 cents will feed a hungry child and $25 will feed a child for half a school year. That works out to about RM180 to feed a child for whole year! So, do think about that the next time you're thinking about buying something you want but don't really need. I've placed a link on my site permanently so you can go have a look, or donate immediately. We are facing tough economic times and everyone including I am affected but that is all the more reason to go through with this as the personal donations will surely drop due to this. Can you believe that Malaysia isn't even on the donor list? That places us way below India, Thailand and even Singapore! There is no minimum donation amount either so do what you can.

Its funny to think that also because I grew up in a Chinese family we were encouraged to 'finish your food because there are many children in Africa with nothing to eat'. I don't understand the logic of fattening our kids because some kid in Africa is starving, and I remember I once said, 'Ok, why don't you send this to them instead?', which left the adults speechless.

For a kid, I think that would have been an ideal thing to do. Its all about allocating resources to the places that need it most.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's get cookin'

I think the only thing worth watching nowadays on Astro is probably AFC, or the Food Channel. However, I must say that while some programmes are good, I have seen some other crap as well that's come out of these people's kitchens, like for one was this craptastic thing this guy made with 'bak choy'(I can't stand these foreigners calling it 'bok choy'), and coconut milk served with chapati. What the hell is that?

Some honest cooking can be found with Jamie Oliver and Laura Calder. Honest, passionate, and easy going, that's what cooking's supposed to be. Also I've been catching Spain...on the road again with Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols. Its basically 4 people travelling around Spain drinking wines and eating spanish food and generally making everyone else jealous.

I on the other hand, have been doing loads of cooking on my new stove. Its not your fancy Electrolux crap that you pay and display. I know of people who don't even use their kitchens which is such a shame, I got one of those stainless steel industrial ones they use for 'tai chow', or literally 'big-fry'. The amount of heat generated from the roaring stove made my knees feel weak the first time. But it is a fantastic stove, it really is, and as you know the old-timer in me always liked everything to be manual, with the switches and knobs that allows you to control everything.

In a time when everything is automatic, electric and with technology that makes you lazier, this works out for me.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Good stuff quick

I want good food and I want it quick. So I whipped this up for dinner yesterday. Extremely satisfying, light, and easy to eat with a spoon (like if you were in front of the TV), makes this the ultimate TV dinner.

Small shells with french ham in a light cream sauce

-Small shells or spirals (but not macaroni, I'm allergic) 250g
-Ham of choice, sliced or cubed, (pork please) 5mm thick, 2 slices
- Diced onions (2)
- Low fat UHT whipping cream (500ml)
- Mascarpone (50g)
- Butter or olive oil

I like this simply because you can keep all this ingredients in the fridge, and you can make this anytime. Start off by pan frying the ham a little to bring out some flavor, then slice or dice them as you like. Remove the fat and skin.

Place the diced onions in the blender. Once its done, start boiling the pasta, you will have about 13 minutes till it cooks. Put the onion mash into a little pot/pan over high heat and toss frequently, then add a little butter or olive oil.

Add the whipping cream into the mix and let it boil at medium heat. Once bubbly, add the mascarpone. Most people will ask me, isn't that what they use for tiramisu? Yes it is, and its the best thing for a light pasta. You don't want to feel sick halfway eating your dinner (that happens if you use mozzarella or parmesan or anything else, gorgonzola has a milky taste I don't like). Once the cream melts the sauce is good to go.

By then the pasta is done, drain, top with sauce, and meat, add some spices of your choice, I like cayenne, and you have a simple, delicious meal.

Serves 4~6