Cerita Lebaran: Belajar Memasak

7 Jul

Dan tibalah pula saat itu. Saat-saat para penduduk kota besar kelabakan karena ditinggal para pembantu dan penjual makanan. Sebagian kecil dari keluarga mungkin menjadikan masa ini sebagai latihan anak-anak untuk mandiri dengan meminta mereka membantu pekerjaan rumah. Namun sebagian besar memilih untuk mencari jalan lain untuk mengisi kekosongan tenaga kerja dengan mencari pembantu infal atau malah menunda semua pekerjaan hingga nanti para pembantu kembali. Sementara itu, pusat jajanan dan mal akan penuh dengan lautan manusia yang mencari makanan.

Itu bagi para keluarga. Kalau anak kos seperti saya? Ya, ada dua pilihan. Memberanikan diri untuk memasak atau bertahan dengan makanan ala kadarnya seperti mie instan dan fast food, yang lagi-lagi adanya juga di mal dan pusat perbelanjaan.

Di tahun-tahun pertama saya di Jakarta, pilihan kedualah yang saya jalani. Maklum saja, memang tidak ada tempat untuk memasak. Dan keluar masuk mal tiap hari sembari nongkrong dengan kawan-kawan yang juga tidak pulang adalah agenda tiap lebaran. Boros? Iya, pasti. Bosan? Iya mau bagaimana lagi? Di Jakarta hanya mal yang bisa dijadikan tempat rekreasi yang cukup nyaman. Mengunjungi tempat wisata seperti Ancol akan terasa bagaikan sebuah peziarahan, memberi kepuasan batin tetapi butuh perjuangan yang besar untuk dilakukan. Dan aku bukan termasuk orang yang mendapatkan kepuasan batin dengan berziarah ke Ancol.

Tiga tahun terakhir ini, pilihan pertama yang kupilih. Mumpung ada dapur di kos. Siap-siaplah aku bereksperimen dengan kemampuan memasakku yang ala kadarnya dan ditunjang dengan insting memasak yang juga ala kadarnya.

Hasilnya? Well…
1.    Sup kembang tahu
Ini salah satu makanan favorit rumahanku. Isinya sederhana, hanya kembang tahu yang direbus dalam kuah ayam. Seharusnya sederhana ya. Seharusnya.
Setelah beli semua bahan dan memastikan lagi prosedur pembuatan ke Mama, kumulailah proses memasak. Dimulai dengan merendam kembang tahu yang masih keras di air mendidih. Kemudian dilanjutkan dengan merebusnya di air yang sudah diberi kaldu ayam. Setelah beberapa saat, dengan gembira aku bersiap menyantapnya. Dengan mata bersinar-sinar aku menyambut gigitan pertama dari hasil masakanku, dan……..alot. Kembang tahunya alot. Bahkan setelah kurebus kembalipun tidak bisa melunakkan sedikitpun kealotan kembang tahu itu. T_T Ya, Tuhan, apa salahku…

2.    Sup telur puyuh bawang. BAWANG
Oke. Manusia harus bisa bangkit dari kegagalan. Maka mencobalah aku masakan lain yang sekiranya lebihi mudah. Untuk sup ini bahannya gampang. Telur puyuh, kembang kol, wortel, kentang, dan kaldu. Meskipun agak repot dengan merebus dan mengupas telur puyuh dulu, tetapi aku optimis dengan masakan yang ini. Air sudah direbus, kaldu dan bahan-bahan lain dimasukkan sesuai urutan kematangan. So far so good.

And it would have stayed good if only I hadn’t tempted to improvise. Waktu temanku melihat masakanku, dia sambil lalu menyarankan, “Coba ditambah bawang goreng, pasti lebih enak hasilnya.” Yang entah kenapa kudengarkan, padahal suka bawang goreng pun aku tidak.

Bencana pun menerjang dalam bentuk bawang goreng. Tanpa pengalaman menggoreng bawang sama sekali, yang terjadi adalah aku menggoreng bawang putih hingga hitam dan memasukkannya ke dalam supku. Hasil gorengannya sudah jelas gagal, dan insting memasakku yang ala kadarnya itu tidak membantu. Jadilah saudara-saudara, SUP BAWANG. Rasa bawang begitu mendominasi menenggelamkan keberadaan bahan-bahan yang lain. Ah sudahlah.

3.    Tempe dan telur goreng
Dari dua masakan di atas, sudah tertebak bahwa sup adalah bentuk makanan favoritku. Tapi belajar dari pengalaman, aku tidak berani lagi membuat sup dan memilih cara masak yang lebih sederhana: menggoreng. Cukup sukseslah untuk dua makanan ini. Keterlaluan kalau hanya menggoreng temped an telur saja tidak bisa. Hore, akhirnya.

4.    Spaghetti instan
Nah, diantara semua percobaan memasak, inilah yang paling berhasil. Memang sih, instan. Tapi jika dilihat hasilnya, spaghetti ini cukup layak dan sehat. Prestasi juga karena baru sekali mencoba. Langsung dicatat sebagai salah satu pilihan di masa yang akan datang.

Sementara itu, menimbang kemampuan memasakku yang begitu memprihatinkan, aku memutuskan untuk belajar memasak pada Mama nanti ketika ada kesempatan untuk pulang. Benar-benar belajar ya, bukan cuma menonton seperti biasanya.

PS: Namun ternyata nasib berkata lain. Satu hari menjelang keberangkatan, Mama memberi kabar. Dia akan jalan-jalan ke Surabaya. Pelajaran memasak pun harus ditunda. Dan rencana untuk nostalgia dengan masakan Mama harus berakhir dengan wisata kuliner seputar rumah.

The Queen of Shallot

20 Apr

So, it happened one week before my birthday. My small circle of friends found out my strange habit of eating shallot raw. They were so excited to find out and quickly baptized me with the title “Queen of Shallot”. At first, it sounded just like a gibberish that would be forgotten the next day. Eight days later, I was proven wrong.

On my birthday, it seemed that my friends had been determined to make the title permanent. So, one of them photoshopped a famous Indonesian botanical magazine cover “Trubus” to feature me and my strange fetish. Since then, the title sticks until now.

And rather than fight it, I choose to enjoy it. I even kind of like it. I’ve stated before that it would make a great band name. However, since I do not have a band and do not plan to have one, I’ll just make it into a blog address and title. Of course with a consequence that I must routinely post things there. I do not want to disappoint, don’t I?

So, how about this one? Well, I’ll just keep this one Indonesian then. As I’ve got a lot of inspiration lately to start writing my thoughts to the world. Let’s hope that this time it will not take me 4 months to post another entry….in Indonesian.

An Awakening

10 Jan

No, the title above is not inspired by the new Star Wars installment. Definitely not. Okay, maybe a little bit inspired by it.

So, this is me now. It’s not exactly the first day of 2016 or second day, or any day that seems to be more appropriate to start your New Year’s resolution. But I have this determination to put my life back on track starting from…this moment. Hopefully.

See, I’ve been straying away from what I should do and be in the past year. I got comfortable. I got lazy. I feel that my life was a big enjoyable, guilty-ridden mess.I’ve been couch (or in my case, bed) potato whenever I was home. My chores and laundry were almost abandoned, done only when it was getting necessary.

Then, I got a wedding invitation in a city area where I used to live. The time when I was financially less stable, but more productive and alive. The opportunities seemed endless at that time. Then, things changed. And I was swept away by the change to a darker place and routine.

Well, that’s about to change now. This post is maybe nothing. However, let it be a reminder to myself that there is a promise to keep.

Humor, References, and Fan Service

6 Jan

And then the world went crazy. Well, everyone in the Sherlock BBC fandom world.

Forget about the new year party. Forget about the new year resolution. There was only one thing that mattered on the first day of 2014. The first episode of Sherlock BBC series 3 was aired. And it was a great episode.

Well, to be honest and fair, I don’t find the terrorism plot convincing. In fact, I am kind of disappointed by the ending. I mean, really? A switch off button? And where the hell the police come from? They surely picked the right time to show up. Moreover, the explanation of how Sherlock faked his death is also not satisfying for me. Maybe I missed something, but as far as I remember, the trick should deceive everyone. In the explanation, it looks like it is aimed only to deceive John.

However, other than that one minor (Can I say it is a “minor”?) objection, I LOVE the episode so much. It has the humor, references, and enough amount of fan service which makes everyone in Sherlock fandom scream out of excitement.

First, the humor. I read an article prior to the airing of The Empty Hearse which said that the episode was a light-hearted one. It is indeed. All the people that I know said that they definitely laughed themselves out all through the episode. I personally find the death-faking theories really amusing. The scenes that show Sherlock’s interaction with Mycroft and his parents are also priceless. And what is better than a Sherlock-look-alike to be Molly’s fiancé?

As the previous series, I also enjoy many references to the book such as the minor cases Sherlock solved aided by Molly. The Sumatra Road which refers to The Giant Rat of Sumatra and the book shop owner which of course refers to Sherlock Holmes’s original revelation to John Watson that he is alive.

And here comes the ultimate one thing I like from the show. The fan service. I even come up with this term, interactive show.

After two years of hiatus, hundreds of theories, and thousands of fan fictions written, the writers of Sherlock do not ignore what has been happening in the giant Sherlock fandom and give them nod and appreciation for all the fans out there. The first theory presented, I believed, is a nod to Sherlock and Molly pairing. The first three minutes is also one of the best scenes in the episode. Sherlock fixing his coat, ruffling his hair, and then kissing Molly? That scene is so cool that it can only live in Anderson’s imagination. I seriously knew from that point that the writer was messing up with us. The second theory is for Sherlock and Moriarty pairing. Unfortunately, there is no Sherlock and John pairing to be seen. Well, they cannot include everything, can they?

Right now, we are waiting for the second episode. The trailer looks promising. So, let’s cross fingers and hope that it will live up to expectation.

Home Sweet Home

8 Aug

Where do you live? In an apartment? In a house? In a small rented room? In a penthouse? Wherever you live, the important question is: Do you like your home?

I just got back from a friend’s place. Here, most of urban workers either live in their houses or in rented rooms of wide range of luxury. My friend, being a common worker as me, can only rent a small one approximately 2.5 m x 3 m. It is just slightly bigger than mine. However, I quickly noticed one similarity between hers and mine beside the small dimension of the room. We both love our rooms.

This friend of mine has a remarkable passion in computer games, online and offline. I find myself turn to her advice whenever I have questions in term of games or game characters. She is a person who makes friends through games she plays, and they are great ones.

So, there is no wonder that she has no hesitation at all in investing her money in things that will add her gaming experience quality. She had been hunting for a fine CPU station with details that I don’t think I have the knowledge to explain, a bigger monitor, fast and unlimited internet connection, and recently she just bought a new keyboard. I set my eyes on this “gaming station” of her and I just knew that she could just stay there for days without wanting to move except when nature calls. The room may be small, but it had accommodated everything she ever needed.

As for me, I am not a fan of games. I love playing them, but I never love them like my friend does. My passions are language and literature, music, and movies. That is why I have a TV and DVD player set, one broken but still playable keyboard, and books on learning foreign languages. Moreover, I own a laptop I explore the world of reading, important or trivial, on daily basis. I have everything in my room to feed my passion. I can spend hours in my room or days before the first drop of boredom starts filling my brain. And that is when I realize that I am one of those lucky persons in the world who have a home, no matter what it looks like. Home sweet home.

A Destined Evening

21 Jul

I don’t know why I am here. I just know that I have to be here. For past memories. For future hopes. For present joy.

 

“For the Greater Glory of God”

The line makes me feel like crying. There is stirred feeling inside of me. Mixed between joy, pride, greatness, anticipation…

 

Several events occurred this passing week, leading me to this chapel. A conversation at the cafetaria, a little chit chat in my class room, a homily from a priest. And the rain, the rain keeps falling. Framing the time. As if something is going to happen.

 

I don’t know why. I just have to. I just have to.

What Parents’ Love Means (Contains spoiler for Man of Steel)

21 Jun

If you think that Jonathan Kent’s death in Man of Steel is quite ridiculous, then join the wagon. There are many people who think the same including me. It is just beyond my logical reason why Clark Kent would follow his dad’s instruction and let his dad save the dog challenging death while he himself conveniently escorted his mom to safety. Many argue that it was his dad’s wish and Clark just respected that, especially after the fight they had in the car. From Jonathan Kent’s side, it was his fatherly instinct to keep his family safe, including ensuring his wife’s safety on Clark’s protection. All of those arguments have their own merit I must say. It is just that I still find it hard to believe that they could be that oblivious to the risk that was coming. And the way Clark just stood by watching his dad wiped out by tornado? As if there was really nothing he could do to save his dad, even against his dad’s will.

Yesterday, though, I finally got it. Sometimes people do ridiculous thing beyond common sense. Like when it involves their child. ESPECIALLY when it involves their child.

So I told my mom that I would go to the newest mall in town to watch a movie. For information, the mall is only less than 4 km away according to Google Maps (because I am not good at measuring distance). As any other person in family, I would of course go there by motorcycle. And you know what was my mom’s reaction?

“How will you go there? Are you sure you know how to go there? BE CAREFUL because the traffic is really jammed you may just get crashed by a car or a bigger vehicle. No, I don’t think you can go there? Why do you need to watch a movie anyway? Can’t you just rent one and watch it at home? Why do you even bother to go to a cinema just to watch a movie?”

“Why do you even bother to go to a cinema just to watch a movie?” Really, Mom?

For information too, I have over than 9 years of motorcycle riding experience. My first ride was 13 years ago in my first year of senior high. For four years I rode around my hometown, the rest years were spent in Yogyakarta which included trips to suburban and rural area surrounding it. I have had tall and big Caucasian male and female as my passengers and never had any accident in those years.

To be honest, I had predicted that sort of reaction because frankly, I always described my mom as an over-protective person who never trusts anyone. So, I took that reaction coolly. I was expecting it anyway. However, what came next was beyond any of my wildest expectation.

“Po (that’s what my mom calls my dad), give her a ride to the mall. I will pick her up later when she finishes watching the movie.”

Err..….., what???? Really? Seriously? I was a healthy 28-year-old grown up with all working senses. I had my driving license. I was really capable in riding motorcycle. I could even ride motorcycle better than my mom. I had been to the mall before, I knew where it was. And then my mom told me that I needed to be taken there by my father and herself because she deemed me incapable of getting there by myself, just like a teenager. This was so unacceptable and I refused strongly and immediately the moment I heard that statement.

My dad, with all his sense, defended me and said that I was big enough and more than capable to go there myself. That it was a ridiculous and totally unnecessary effort from their part. Reluctantly, my mom agreed and let me go with numerous tips and good lucks.

I was still quite upset moments after that but after some time passed by, I started to see it from a different point of view. You know what, my mom does always treat me as a child, because I AM her child. It is in her nature to always protect me and do her best to help me. It does often get out of proportion but I GET IT. It is her motherly instinct. Parents live for their children, don’t they? They will risk everything for the sake of their children’s happiness and well-being, even when it seems very ridiculous.

This small yet loud incident was just one of those moments when my mom shows how much she cares for me, even if it goes in a wrong way. It is my job then, to ensure her that I am capable enough to take care of myself

This, too, helps me understand Jonathan Kent’s decision to send his son to safety and face the tornado himself. He was the father anyway, the head of the family, even when his son was million times stronger than him. It was still his job to make sure that his family was safe. I get it.

Having said that, I am still not convinced until this moment that Clark just chose to accept his dad’s decision and did nothing. So, just 8/10 from me for Man of Steel. Well, nothing’s perfect, isn’t it?

Coming Home

17 Jun

One and a half hour has passed since my train left the cloudy and gloomy Gambir train station in Jakarta. By now, no more internet signal from my provider, marking the end of this morning’s internet browsing time. Well, may be when our train enters the next big town. Right now, though, I must satisfy myself with what I have on my laptop, or my mind in this case.

Gazing out the window, the lush greeneries with light and dark brown spots greets my eyes. I always love the scenery of rural areas. Life is fresh and new. Life is calm and relaxing. The nature greets everyone at its best. Layers of green rice fields promise food as well as life to people around them. Layers of yellow rice fields announce that prosperity is at hand. Their neat heights and rows create illusion of giant green carpet covering the rural maiden’s landscape, barely untouched by humans.

My mind is wandering around. To the past, too the future, crossing every time and place boundary ever exists. There’s this nostalgic feeling of going back to the natural life, which seems peaceful and tender, with nothing much to think about other than people and animals around you. How we can cherish every tiny particle of nature with proper awe and gratefulness we should, just like our ancestors did. How life can be so simple and yet still meaningful. How people can pay respect to nature and do less damage….

How I long for this kind of life. I dream about living in a classic house made of stones. Cold yet strong. Small and clean path led from the side of the road to the beautifully crafted door. The nature-carved stone wall was fresh with dark colors and bore artistic decorative paintings or memorable framed photographs. Wooden furniture filled every room. Soft yet sturdy. Minimal yet elegant.

Birds would chirp outside when the weather was bright and sunny. The house yard would be full of fruit plants and vegetables, all ready to be harvested when the time came. Flowers would appear in cluster here and there, giving accent to the already flourished mini-plantation. Oh, life as a farmer. The thought has crossed my mind over and over again, even more frequent lately. I eye on people’s social media’s statuses with envy whenever someone indicates that she or he is one step closer to a plant than me.

Then I snap back to reality. Look what I’m typing on now. A device which won’t run without electricity, something that is scarce in this so called rural area where I want so much to live in. Look the city I particularly picked as a place where I make my living, the most crowded and modern city in Indonesia. Look where I go to every weekend for leisure time, the heart of the city where the richest of people gather for the weekend for entertainment and fine dining. Really, who am I to say that rural life is the ideal kind of life that I have always wanted when I cannot stand living to far from the center of the city?

Bach, Minuet, and Inspirations

26 May

It’s been thirteen days. Not bad. Considering that last time it went for months.

So, what happened today? I went to the church. Nothing’s special. It’s the Holy Trinity Feast but the homily was far from inspiring. Then, I went to Pizza Hut for dinner with a dear friend. It was a bit of accomplishment since I had been drooling Pizza Hut soup for one full week. However, the most spectacular event in my today’s life was the fact that I successfully finished learning and playing the second Bach’s Minuet in my lesson book.

It was months ago when I finally took out my broken-yet-still-functioning keyboard from its hiding under my bed. I freed it from its unfitted bag and dusted it only to discover that some of its buttons, which were made from some sort of rubber, dried up and broken into pieces, hence resulting in dysfunctional buttons. I don’t really need much of my keyboard’s features since I only play the piano sound, but one of the dysfunctional buttons is the volume-down button so it is pretty much a problem, considering I live in a small and crowded rented room. This, was the main reason why I had been so reluctant in practicing even when the very instrument was ready in front of me. I have the number of a repairman referenced by a music teacher I know, but I still doubt whether I can fully explain the condition of my keyboard to the repairman. That, or I am just too ashamed with its condition. After all, what would I say if he asked how the keyboard can be so damaged in the first place? Oh dear. I may just as well hunt for a new one and spend one month salary worth money on it. My mom will be really pissed upon hearing the news.

Nevertheless, I managed to gather my scattered spirit and put myself into practicing mode. And you know what? Once I was there, it was not difficult to carry on, as always. I was really delicate with the keys, avoiding it to sound really loud, and ignoring some muted keys. I was practicing my fingers and reading skill anyway. And then, before I knew it, I had gone through half of the second piece without much trouble. I felt my confidence was coming back to me. This had fueled me to put my best effort to finish the more challenging second part of the piece. Then, I promised myself that I would finish one piece from the book each day. That shouldn’t be hard, should it?

Now, for this big breakthrough, I must thank my fellow colleague at school. There was nothing much she did really. No, she didn’t talk me into start practicing. No, she didn’t lecture me about how I have wasted my talent in music by just letting my keyboard idle, not that I have one. What she did was just playing a short beginning of a song. And that was enough to put every muscle in my body and every nerve in my brain to yearn for the piano playing. Simple, but it is really effective. And the truth is, it only takes small things to inspire.

Every now and then, people need a push from others. Inspiration and support are two things that play vital roles in a success, apart from internal driven motivation. For a person with lack of motivation and spirit like me, those are sometimes the only forces that get me to where I am supposed to be. Not a good thing, I know. Yet, that’s how I am. And this push does not need to be a big one. A one small push is enough. One moment, you just snap. The light of enlightenment shines upon you, and you can resist the urge.

It only took one journey outside the convent walls for Mother Theresa to do what she did. It (only) took one big storm to turn John Newton into a new man with a song now well-known throughout the world. It only took an apple falling from a tree to change the course of human’s knowledge in science. I watched an interview in a TV about how a kid from the most remote place in Papua got to be the head director of a government hospital. He said his father started to consider the importance of education for him and his siblings because their family was once denied from joining a Christmas party because they could not bring canned sardine and instant noodle, which were apparently favorite and prestigious foods that time. His father had never heard of those before and determined that his children would be smart and educated enough to encounter those foods. So, it took only a canned sardine and instant noodle incident to change the life course of the children of this family.

For me, as a moody and emotional girl as I am, there are many examples of how small things can inspire me to do (or not do) something. My colleague playing the keyboard was the latest example. Now, let’s hope that I have the determination to finish what I have promised myself. Honestly, any support will be appreciated. Just wonder where can I get it from. Hmmmmm….

New Beginning

13 May

One post at a time. That’s my new mantra from today. After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to start all over. Don’t get excited yet, though. This spirit may die as fast as it rises. But one thing for sure, after a long non-productive time filled with nonsense dreams and imaginations and laziness, I’ve decided to resurrect from death.

So, where should I start? Yesterday was illuminating. I finally did what I have to do since, maybe months ago. Can’t tell the detail here, but it’s’ quite promising and I plan to really go through with it. Let’s pray that I have the strength and courage and enough passion and willingness to actually carry it out. After all, I miss typing. I guess God tried to hint me several times but I was too ignorant to pick them up. Now, after three days of pure laziness, I bored myself and moved on.

So, what am I doing now? I guess I just mark a new beginning. Or may be I’m just pouring out my frustration here. Anyway, you’re going to read more of me in the short future. See you! 😀