No Better Day Than Today by Chef Chia

8 am on a Sunday morning, 1993, standing in a small kitchen in a 3-bedroom apartment in a suburban area, Taipei city, my mother dipped her hands lightly in olive oil and started to knead the dough together. Beaming with excitement, I washed my hands quickly, rushed to the kitchen, ready to dive in. My elder brother was already standing by to switch hands with my mother to keep on kneading the dough and adding the scallion into the bowl. Impatient with my hungry belly, I couldn’t wait any longer to press and roll the dough into small flat discs, and then pan-fried them to perfection. The irresistible savory Scallion Pancakes, crunchy from the outside, chewing yet flaky in the center are the traditional snack you can find anywhere from a breakfast stand to many vendors in the night markets in Taiwan. And the best Scallion Pancakes, without a doubt, came from my mother’s kitchen.

Some of my favorite moments during my childhood have always been in the kitchen with my mother making some magically delicious homemade meals with the whole family. We didn’t really come from wealthy background, but my mother has her way of stretching dollars to make the ends meet, especially when it comes to cooking. I learned a lot about food from my mother and the passion grew from there and kept going till this day. Even as an adult now living by myself in Los Angeles, my favorite thing to do is cooking with some of my closest friends and enjoy the meal over conversations and laughter.

           I have always been grateful for that I grew up eating healthy food, no frozen dinners, and know how to take care of my body with responsible choices. Especially during difficult time like today, we really should be taking extra care of our own body, and most importantly, our loved ones. Making your own meals with fresh ingredients will not only benefit your health, but also your wallet. (Think about saving all the extra dollars we usually spend on take-out, dine in, tax and tips!) And the best perk of them all – quality time with your friends and family. Cooking with your loved ones can be such a great bonding funtivity during this quarantine. While we are all stuck at home, might as well make the best out of it. Though time is tough financially and probably mentally for a lot of families and individuals, the silver lining in this crisis is that we get to spend more time with people we really love and care about. Maybe there’s no better day than today to roll up your sleeves, leave work behind for a bit, and actually do something fun and rewarding with your husband, wife, kids, parents and friends. Slow down and really enjoy the day with them.

           For me, especially right now, cooking is something that really helps me being focused, organized and calm. I think of cooking as a way of challenging my creativity plus the benefit of knowing exactly what I put into my body and how it will help me boost my immune system by NOT eating food that contains lots of added sugar, chemicals and preservatives. Also, being a chef means that I don’t have to sacrifice my cravings just because some of the restaurants and places are closed down. It’s a win-win-win situation. Knowing what I know now, I am convinced that one day when I have my own kids, I will want them to learn all about food, and encourage them to be interested in cooking early on. Not only that I believe we will have so much fun together, but also I know I am teaching them the best life skill they can have – To make conscious choices about food and have the ability to take good care of themselves.

If interested in taking a class with Chef Chia, you can visit her Junior Home Chef course.