Wednesday, September 22, 2004


A Scent-suous Experience

Today, the piano tuner came to our flat to tune my piano. I was busy stir-frying vegetables in the kitchen, so R. opened the door for him. According to the latter, the tuner's very first comment when he stepped in was, "Whoa, someone's cooking lunch!"

During the one hour that he tuned the piano, I whipped up 2 other dishes: trio of braised mushrooms in oyster sauce, and fish with tomatoes in sweet soy and shallot sauce. Needless to say, the heady aroma of mushrooms, oyster sauce, shallots and garlic permeated the entire flat. Before the tuner left, he said to me, "You must be a very good cook. I can smell it!"

No, I didn't relate the above incident to boast about my cooking skills. If a dish is smells great, it doesn't guarantee that it'll taste perfect, for instance, it may be too salty, slightly overcooked, too greasy, etc. The moral behind this little tale is: The smell of food is actually the very first thing you taste. Before you begin eating, the fragrant wafts from the food has already made you salivate in anticipation.

I once saw this documentary that did a study on our sense of smell. The researcher asked his subjects to pinch their noses before and while eating a mystery substance. No one could identify that substance. Once they unpinced their noses, they realised they were tasting cinnamon, a very strong-smelling spice! This proves that without our sense of smell, we wouldn't be able to 'taste' our food.

Somehow, I just find that savoring the wonderful fragrances that arise while cooking is a deeply satisfying and therapeutic experience. I simply love the aroma of sauteing onions, stewing dried Shittake mushrooms, browning ginger in sesame oil, roasting honeyed baby ribs, barbequeing marinated chicken wings, cooking a rich coconut-based curry, baking rich butter cookies...oh, the list is endless!

That's why I named this blog, AromaCookery, derived from the term 'aromatherapy'. To me, cooking is a great way for me to take my mind off work and other worries. The fabulous aromas that arise simply lift my spirits and at the end of the cooking session, I emerge happy and satisfied, albeit slightly tired. But the satisfaction of seeing my family devour my food is definitely worth it! I'll be sharing my "aroma-cooking-therapy" experiences here. Please do give me your comments; I'm still a beginner cook and am grateful for any constructive criticism. I'll also be posting my eat-out adventures. Hey, having a great meal out is food therapy too!



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