30 December 2014


A carrot.
5 ordinary sausages.
2 black pepper sausages.
300 gram of chicken (more or less so)
2 tomatoes.
A zucchini
A can of mushroom

2 tins of Prego tomato sauce

A tablespoon or two of chilli sauce

1 chicken cube

And the most important ingredient of all; the passion and love.

These are all the ingredients to make a perfect spaghetti sauce; give and take. But the number does not work rigidly like that. This is where the passion and love come into picture. With passion, you’re going to have a clear idea on how the dish tastes like without you having to follow religiously the numbers. Your tongue knows the right taste. Your fingers sprinkle the right quantity.

It’s the magic of the cook, I call it.

I used to love cooking. In my past life, cooking is an essential part of it. I had a critic who would rate every of my cooking, no exceptions, and is a friend I dearly loved.

Every day; waiting for my roommate to come back, having prepared all the ingredients, I would start cooking. The smell of the food can be smelled a hundred feet away, it even disturbed our neighbours. My roommate would instantly know I was cooking even before he turned in the key.

When he came in, he would asked me promptly with a joyful face “Masak apa hari ni?”

“Biasa je. Masak spageti!”

“Wooo syoknya!”

The smile on his face is a non verbal compliment, which I treasure enormously.

I threw in everything inside in a casual sequence, from the onion and garlic for some tumis-ing, the tomatoes, then the carrot, the chicken, the sausages, the mushroom, the zucchini and the sauce. Last but not least was the chicken cube. The epilogue ingredient, the post scriptum of the cooking is the herb oregano, which would give the sauce a distinct taste. Every single ingredient was thrown with precision, no hesitation, but it was just the right amount. It is the magic, no less. Without having to give much thought, you prepare the dish just with the right balance of tastes.

The passion and love that I have for cooking, I shared it full heartedly with my roommate.

There’s that one person whom you love and treasure dearly, unconditionally. A friend, a companion. The person you want to travel the world with. The person you turn to when the world is turning its back on you. The person you want to share you dreams and fears with. That making that one person happy would give you happiness. Just to see a flash of smile across their face contents your heart. And the magic of my cooking originated from that love.

Dinner for two was served afterwards. My roommate would exclaim his excitement over the dinner. He always had great things to say about my cooking and he seemed to like every last one of it.

He said there’s something about my tom yam that would make him take second helpings, and thirds, and fourths even after the dinner time is over.

He loved my lemon steamed fish which he said tastes just like a great restaurant’s.

He specifically loved my spaghetti, which he would ask me to cook every two weeks.

My curry mee, which I intentionally cook tads hotter, but he loved them just the same nonetheless.

During the evenings, I would fry cucur tepung which can make anyone’s mouth waters just by smelling. We would eat the cucur while thinking and envisioning the future of our lives.

It contented my heart to make someone happy through things that I love. I was happy to cook – to spread the magic to those around me.

Not long after, we had to part ways. It was the end of the terms and we had no other options than moving on. Our fellowship was going to end, and like it or not, we had to go. It was a very painful occasion for me. I was thrown aback emotionally, and it hit me harder than I thought it could.

It was by then, unknowingly, I’ve lost the magic touch.

Being in solitude, I tried cooking again for myself, but something was not right. The taste of the food was never the same. My tongue failed me. My fingers lost the ability to accurately sprinkle. The passion went down the drain.

The tastes never came off right. The spaghetti sauce becomes too spicy to my liking; the curry mee just tastes like curry powder and nothing else, the tom yam was just OK.

I realised that the separation was too much it detriments my ability to cook. I had no reason to cook anymore. The magic is lost. I consequently sealed away the pan, the chopping board, the spatula and every item of my kitchen into a box, and sat silently at the corner of the room, contemplating what went wrong.
I never touched the box again to this day.

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