Project 365 at Tiffany’s

Woo 2012!! In the spirit of the New Year, I’m jumping on the Project 365 trend with my own flavor – taking daily food photos of significance! The reason I’m so passionate about food is because it’s such an integral part of life, a common necessity that can bring a diversity of people together. Every meal has a story and I want to appreciate that everyday. Today’s inaugural post will feature one photo, but I plan to compile weekly updates for your convenience (and my sanity).

So this isn’t the most appetizing picture, but take a moment to figure out what’s wrong with this picture…

No this was not an act of negligence, those spoons are swimming in there with purpose!

My mom was boiling spare ribs to make Sinigang, a tangy Filipino stew. She told me that the “old people” in the Philippines add metal spoons because it makes the meat more tender, so she decided to try it. It makes sense, right? I figure the heat from the boiling water is retained by the spoons, adding an extra heat source or something science-y like that. Well, it worked, so maybe you can try this the next time you need to tenderize ribs!

But the real significance of this photo is what that moment represents. Ever since I was young, I’ve always spent time in the kitchen with my mom. I remember being young and standing on a chair so I could reach over the counter and watch my mom cook. My favorite times were when she’d make layered Jello for get-togethers and I’d get to help her mix all the colors, then eat the gelatinized leftovers off the spoon. I remember the first time our parents taught us how to cook. I think it was eggs. I remember my mom mentioning to my dad that she can tell that I would become a good cook because of the way I naturally handled the spatula. I remember the warm confidence I felt at that moment. In recent years, I’m often helping my mom cook army-sized meals for our family and friends on special occasions.

Just as my mom learned a wise tip from her elders in the Philippines, I’ve learned many lessons from being in the kitchen with her all these years — about how to be a good cook and more importantly how to be a good person. In between all the recipes and ingredients, my mom tells me stories ranging from her day at work to her life growing up in poverty. I’m blessed to have developed my character after her – a life living toward compassion, generosity, and excellence with love.

If I have children one day, I pray that I’ll be able to share similar memories and moments with them in the kitchen. If you do have kids at home, I encourage you to do the same! Following recipes and measuring ingredients is a fun way to teach math skills. Kids are more likely to eat food (even veggies!) if they are involved in the process of grocery shopping and cooking. But more importantly, it can transform the chore of meal preparation into fond occasions to forever cherish. If you’re like me and not quite ready for a family, cook with friends and loved ones. It’s a fun and cheaper alternative to eating out!

But I guess the moral of the story about why I want to write food stories.. is that fond memories start in the kitchen and last long after everyone’s had second helpings. This year, take a moment in between bites to think about the meaning behind your meal — what it tells you about who you are, who you’re with, and how the food got on your plate. And please feel free to comment with your food photos and memories! I look forward to sharing many moments to savor  in 2012.

With love,
Tiffany R.
Dining at Tiffany’s

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