There are a few habits that have stuck with me since I was a kid. I am the one who still eats everything with a teaspoon. Somehow a tablespoon doesn’t make the cut. While other kids preferred playing games, I felt more at peace with a favorite storybook. I always tore a chapati with three fingers with the other two amidst air. I could never finish a bottle of coke in a restaurant and I still do that. I like eating pasta without some ketchup on top because I don’t want it to overwhelm the flavors of the spices. And I still feel scared at an escalator.
I always was a crybaby. In the first grade, I was what you would call dumbly innocent. I struggled with the class work and the teacher had to assign someone to help me. On my first day at my school of 10 years, I was so exhausted when the bell for recess rang that I stood up wearing my heavy schoolbag thinking it was off time. Somehow I left my shell, I remember making a comment to this classmate which she told the teacher and got me in trouble. In the fourth grade, I fell in the race and I faintly remember seeing blood along with the salty tears from my eyes. My heart beat as hard as a drum whenever I got a punishment for speaking in class.
Being somewhat shy, while adults around me talked, I was on my knees, playing with their kids, no matter how younger than me. Even now, kids have a special place in my heart. I love their clean smell and prefer baby lotion for myself. My heart melts when I see God’s most innocent creatures and I can't help but feel a calmness around them. A few months ago, when I was waiting for my aunt and mum in the hospital lobby, my little cousin aka little angel created a racket with me in a pool of failed attempts to tame her naughtyness.
In fifth grade, my English teacher put some faith in me. She told me that I have the power in me to achieve good things. It was because of her I wrote my first poem. It was published in the school magazine which I wish I still had the copy of. Sometimes when everything becomes overwhelming, I pour my feelings in the form of poetry.
I refuse to wear shoes around the house. The feel of the cold marble floor cannot be replaced. People have failed in making me wear them because if I do, I usually leave them lying somewhere.
When I saw people cooking, I was generally interested. It explains why I now love baking. I am so protective of my cookbooks that I hate lending them to people because they would never sift through it with such love and care as I do. Even as a kid, I didnt have a big sweet tooth. I always have to drink water after eating dessert. When people see all those pictures of cakes on my Facebook profile, they think I’m big into the sweet stuff which is far from the truth. Baking is just my release from the world. Running around the house whipping up batter and finally photographing the outcome is my life.
As much as I am the same as I was ten years ago, I don’t imagine the little me knowing that she would end up writing a blog, working for her passions and making friends around the world. Food threads my posts while my stories are full of my life. I’m still a kid at heart, enjoying the simple things in life and bringing a smile to someone’s face. I still get teary when I see someone being shouted at. It just breaks my heart, being as sensitive as I always was. But I have learned to use it as a quality. My sensitive nature gave me the will to help people and make life beautiful. I would never trade it for anything in the world.
Just like the day when I baked a pizza all by myself. Making the sauce, cutting the vegetables and shredding the cheese spread a wave of contentment through me. And when the smell of freshly baked pizza wafted through the air, I could not help but take a deep breath of life.
Try this out, one of the simplest pizzas out there. I promise!
Pizza alla VegetarianoAdapted from here.
1 pre-packaged pizza base (med or large)
For the sauce
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
To taste of black pepper
To taste of salt
For the topping
1 bell pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Mozarella cheese (shredded)
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200 C (392 F).
2. Puree the tomatoes in a blender. Fry garlic in oil in a pan. Add the tomatoes after a minute.
3. When the tomatoes have softened, add the herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes then remove from heat.
4. Dice the vegetables and marinate with the herbs and salt for ten minutes.
5. Assemble the pizza by spreading the sauce on the dough. Top up with the vegetables and finally sprinkle a generous amount of cheese.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the bottom is brown and the cheese has melted. Ta da!