I’ve been in Singapore for two months now and feel like a bit of a failure.
I moved with great intentions. My new blog combined with a food-obsessed country should have meant amazing things, such as exciting recipes and engrossing posts about the food culture here. Instead, the last couple of months have been a bureaucratic nightmare of finding an affordable place to live, enrolling my kids into local schools and getting settled into a new job. There’s been little time or energy for exciting blog posts and exotic recipe development.
On top of that, my kitchen is bare. Moving 15,000 kilometres across the globe on your own dime means that you leave a lot of stuff behind. I shipped over a decent selection of kitchen hardware, yet the answer to my daily call of “Honey, did we bring … ?” is invariably “No, you said we should leave it behind.” As for ingredients, there wasn’t much I was going to entrust to a six-week sea voyage.
Since arriving, I’ve cooked a few basic meals but none of them have been anything to write home about, much less a blog post. I’ve felt like a painter who has been limited to painting in just black and white with a roller.
Thankfully, we’re now getting settled. Affordable housing apparently means 45% of my income, the kids are getting used to uniforms and my job seems pretty cool.
Today is Hari Raya, a public holiday marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, and I have finally taken the chance to start rebuilding my kitchen. (Apropos, no?)
I pulled out some of my favourite cooking books and started compiling a list of stuff that I need to re-establish my kitchen. It includes a cast-iron grill pan to replace the charcoal grill I left in Canada and a Kitchenaid mixer for making sausages and pizza doughs. Exciting spices like cardamom and fennel seeds sit stacked on the other side of the ledger. I can practically smell them roasting my saute pan.
I suppose making a list on a holiday seems pretty dull. But it lifts my spirits. Soon I’ll be experimenting with recreations of the great tastes I am experiencing here.
Sitting here on the balcony, I’m starting to catch the daily parade of scents indicating a host of Chinese, Malay and Indian suppers are being prepared all around me. I may not have anything from my list, but I can now head into the kitchen feeling a little less of a failure and with a renewed enthusiasm for making tonight’s pork chops. (Definitely not very Hari Raya.)