Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cooking Lesson 101

Today Pastor Chantha's wife Bunthan and one of their disciples Siny came over to my home to give me a cooking lesson. One of the first things they did was to go into my fridge and see what food I had. But it didn't stop there, they examined my cupboards checking out what cooking ingredients and cookware I had accumulated since I arrived. For those of us who live in the west, we might find this quite an intrusion into our personal space, perhaps crossing a boundary, but I have to say, I had a good laugh and welcomed their curiosity and interest. They were on a mission to see what they could cook based on what I had available.
Bunthan (left) and Siny (right) getting ready to show me how to use the rice cooker

One of the first things they wanted to do was to teach me to cook rice. Yes I know it seems funny and perhaps I would say odd and embarrasing that as an Asian, I do not know how to make rice but alas, such is the case! Don't forget, I'm 6th generation Chinese South American so I never claimed to be a 'real Chinese' person! I only learned to use chopsticks when I was 18 years old! Thankfully, I had purchased a brand spanking new mini rice cooker last week Saturday at the local market and it was still sitting in the box. So Bunthan began her lesson showing me how to rinse the rice and measure it. A vague memory came back to my mind as I recall my Mum showing me something quite similar many years ago! Anyway the lesson continued as I watched and observed a variety of ingredients going into making a chicken rice soup---from salt, fried garlic, sugar, some kind of soup power, rice and of course some left over chicken and its bones.

Bunthan cutting up my leftover chicken

My two cooking teachers did not stop there though, they were so gracious wanting to wash up the dishes they had used to prepare the meal. Finally the finished product was done and it was time to sample it. It was indeed quite tasty and so for the upcoming week, I will have two meals of soup to eat!
Chicken Rice soup with carrots

Bunthan has offered to come once a week to give me some more cooking lessons. I'm looking forward to seeing what else she will teach me. It is such a joy to be a 'learner' in this environment. So often we in the West have a tendency to come to places like Cambodia to 'teach' the 'locals' new ideas and new ways of doing things. They often are on the receiving end while we are the ones giving. In  a strange way, my 'cooking weakness' is a great opportunity to build relationships and provides a way for me to learn from my Khmer friends, to receive from them and be blessed by their giftings.  Not only that, I get to practice my Khmer so that is an added bonus.

Perhaps there is a reason why the Lord did not create me for such domesticity. Perhaps it was for such a time as this, that in this environment, through my weakness, His grace would not just be sufficent but be evident through the people He sends my way to encourage and strengthen me. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says:  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Today, is one of those days when I got a glimpse of God working through the different kinds of gifts and services that my Khmer Christian friends have. Indeed as we use our gifts to bless one another we are administering God's grace to each other (1 Peter 4:10).

1 comment:

  1. Cooking together is also a good way to explain scripture with a new believer. The bible is full of culinary metaphore.