Today is Independence Day. Daughter had a rock concert party to go to, and son needed a haircut. Dad offered to bring them both, and I was left home alone. Freedom!
It started out pretty well, with me tidying up, then eventually lounging around reading the newspaper while drinking soda. After an hour or so, I got pretty restless at the awfully quiet house. The househelp were out as well, so there wasn't even the usual hum in the kitchen or the opening and closing of doors. It occurred to me that I was no longer used to this kind of independence.
I started to miss the children and the chaos that normally happens when they're around. The strong presence of my husband, whose voice booms even when he attempts to whisper. The quiet efficiency of the girls who help around the house which I've learned to rely on for quite a number of years.
It was almost dinnertime so I checked the fridge and the pantry. Goodness, I've never cooked for this family from scratch! Okay, maybe once or twice, but with my husband around to check on me from time to time. He is our unofficial chef, and I'm just the food stylist. I tried visualizing myself cutting some string beans, then chopping onions and tomatoes to saute them. I panicked. The only thing I've made before was baked ribs. Marinate, then pop in the oven. Simple. But chop onions? How do I even start?
I decided to bring out frozen pompano. All I needed to do was fry that. Then I started to cook some rice. Four cups. Easy enough with the rice cooker. At least my mom taught me that!
All this time, my heart was sinking. A housewife with absolutely no kitchen skills is like a driver who can't move a car. She is not free to bring her family to gustatory heaven, nor will they experience delightful smells wafting from the kitchen which will make them remember home long after they've moved out.
The rice was done in no time, without much help from me. I stared at the thawed out pompano, trying to decide what to do with it. Then I brought out garlic, lemon, butter and leftover basil. And started chopping away...