Can one really be a domestic goddess?

domestic goddess for real

By Denise Rayala of Bebengisms.com

In this modern world of canned, bottled and processed foods, preparing a bountiful feast for our loved ones can be done gracefully in a jiffy. Say, dialing the phone with manicured finger nails? Culinary-impaired individuals would say “it’s the thought that counts”, but those who could whip up gourmet dishes with one eye closed might say otherwise.

I, as a self-proclaimed domestic queen, would proudly say:  Both statements aforementioned are wrong.

Although it is practical to prepare meals that are products of what’s-available-in-the-grocery-cupboard, there are health risks we don’t want to actually discuss about. On the other hand, extravagantly-cooked dishes will eat time, effort and money; something hard to spare these toxic days. Sounds discouraging, isn’t it? Don’t lose heart for your pots, pans and spatula yet. Please allow me to turn the knob of fate 180 degrees and have you believe that you can be a [frugal] kitchen goddess; modestly but frankly speaking, like me.

This is my story.

I was in 5th grade when I first learned how to cook on my own. Mom was a widow with four mouths to feed, so she was barely home, working hard for us. I searched our tiny but organized kitchen on what I could prepare for lunch. I saw mongo (mung bean) sprouts in our vegetable crisper; I also found some tofu, just below the freezer. I sautéed it as I have observed how Sandy Daza do it in his cooking show, and I thought it was good. But when my younger brother finally ate, he told me it was too sweet. I didn’t feel bad, as I liked my food that way then. It was still satisfying enough to see that he finished his full plate without me prodding him to do so.

Some may see the whole cooking scenario as mundane and uninteresting, but when I first faced my mom’s stove and felt the warm steam on my face, I felt truly alive! My senses felt its worth ― my eyes saw how a garlic so pallid turned into beautiful golden brown chips, I smelled the sweet aroma of white onion strips cooked in low heat, and heard that sizzling sound fresh juicy tomatoes make when added into the pan. To say that I felt I reached the end of the line of a 21k marathon when I saw my picky-eater brother wolfed down his food is an understatement. I knew I will be good at this that I didn’t make everything a big deal.

Fast forward to my man-hunting days, although I knew feeding these always-hungry beasts, is the fastest way to their hearts, I didn’t cook for them (uhm… if my memory serves me right though, heehee). I was thinking I’d do this for “the one”.

Are you rolling your eyes now in disbelief? Hahaha!

Really, that’s how things went when I finally met my food-lover “solja” (soldier!) boy. With the aim to impress him (and eventually make him realize I’m wife material! Haha!), I asked him what his favorite dishes were and learned to cook them.

Can you relate now? Why do things you normally found normal become suddenly special when done for the one who got your heart?

Simple ― it makes you happy to see him happy.

Doing what you love = Loving those you do it for

My passion for cooking started whenever my then-boyfriend would come home from his military assignment. He would always complain about the bland and water-like fish soups he’d eaten at the camp, so I made sure I fed him healthy and delicious meals whenever he would be with me. (But, to be very honest, I was a struggling underpaid TV network employee that a kilo of shrimp would amount to a week’s transportation allowance, or two sticks of butter would rather be for my mobile phone’s prepaid credits!) I knew we could not always have fast food for dinner. I read food sections in my posh lifestyle magazines and I researched recipes with affordable ingredients that I could easily find in the supermarket.

I improvised; I did my best to make things work. This, for me, made me the kitchen goddess that I am now.

Everything we do, especially if it’s for the one we love (whether it is your partner, parents, friends, kids or YOU), must reflect the way we feel towards them. So yes, I am encouraging you to serve a dish for the people you truly care about for dinner today. It doesn’t need to be as complicated as Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon or as lavish as something served in a hotel’s buffet. The small effort to veer away from anything simply fried or poked from a can is enough to make things blissful for you and your family.

Now to answer this question ― can one really be a domestic goddess?

Oh, indeed! Are you ready to be one?

***

P.S. Share your food photos with us on Instagram, OK? Please use this hashtag #makeitblissful when you do. Happy cooking!

Comments

  1. says

    Hey Denise! Nice article. Just like you, I’ve been cooking for my family since I was a teenager. I think they liked my dishes (wala silang choice before. haha!). Living and working in Singapore, my husband and I used to just buy from the hawker stalls, kasi nakakatamad magluto after working 8 (sometimes 10 or 12) hours a day. But more recently, I’ve been steering our eating habits towards healthier choices, so I make the effort to cook dinner. My husband really appreciates home-cooked meals talaga (especially when I cook Pinoy food), kasi nagsasawa na rin sya sa curry-based foods, noodles and even Mcdo.
    I really like looking at your recipes, by the way. I should try to cook them one of these days.

    • says

      Hello, Ays! My husband loves dining here at home, too so much that he forgets to date me out na. Hahaha! Kidding. Anyway, I hope my recipes will work for you. Medyo non-standardized cook kasi ako. I’m reallypoor at measuring things. Let me know how you fared if you tried. :)

      Thanks you!

  2. says

    I love to cook and to bake. I had my share of burnt, inedible, and wasteful attempts to serve lovely dishes but that didn’t stop me. The first time I cooked for my husband, he merely took one look at it and with just one bite he pushed it away. I slaved 2 hours inside the kitchen…. and that’s what got?! I cried my eyes out and swore never to cook for him again. But then, for the love of food and cooking, I conquered the kitchen and finally got the elusive approval of my picky-tarian.

    Right now, I do feel like a kitchen goddess. I do wish to be a kitchen goddess/baker/entrepreneur too! Hopefully, someday! ;)

    Keep posting recipes on your blog, Queen B. I love them. I also get inspiration from your food photos on Instagram. You sure rock in the kitchen!

    • says

      Love “picky-tarian” — that’s what my kid is! Haha! I love your baking posts, too. I’m not much of a baker since it requires exact amount of ingredients in order to get the same result from the recipe. I’d like to call myself a non-standardized home cook. Thank you for reading, April! :)

  3. says

    I’m a full time career momma and honestly, I only get to cook breakfast and weekend meals for Z fambam. But I never fail to make them exclaim, with matching closed eyes, .. “WOW! ANG SARAP!” And for me, that’s a WOW SARAP feeling when you cook with love and passion for the people you love and that they really love your dish! See that’s a lot of LOVE in my sentence! So to be able to do what you are doing for Rhambo and Lil B, is something I dream of doing for my own fambam. If that’s the standard of being a kitchen goddess, then I’m just in a Kitchen Princess levelz. :-D Nice post Denise as always!

    • says

      I think you have achieved the kitchen goddess levelz, too, Louise since you said that your boys never fail to let you know that they loved what you’ve prepared for them! And true, food=love. :) Thanks, Louise! ♡

  4. says

    So timely for me since one of the things I enjoy challenging myself with these days is seeing how I can prepare meals (with 2 dishes each time) with the littlest and simplest ingredients possible (good bye anchovies on my pasta) and timing just how long it would take me to prepare everything myself (it always takes me a while!).

    But just seeing the dining table ready for when my husband gets home for work or the breakfast table ready even before anyone else is up already–just seeing that–it doesn’t quite matter anymore if I whipped up a magic of a meal. I just like my husband and my family to feel that somebody was busy preparing something for them.

    • says

      I super agree, Mars! It doesn’t matter what kind of food is on the table (well, it should be edible at least hehe), as long as you know it was prepared with your whole heart, not the “napipilitan” kind. And I believe that strong family ties start with eating together; much more if it was cooked by the queen of the house. ♡

  5. Nicole Tanya Mata says

    Good cook! Good article! Good writer! It probably runs in the blood (ehem).
    More please. Keep it up!!!

    Your No.1 Fan

  6. says

    Just as I am. I cook (and feel good about it) but when everyone gather around the table to critique what I served, I usually am the only one in love with my dish. Haha. But still, when I was (and soon will be) with my husband, I seldom let my helper cook. I do the cooking and planning of 365*3 meals. I know what’s in my fridge and I know what I will be serving next. Everything is well-prepared just like a (frugal) kitchen goddess. Although I can’t say I’m the best cook, it still makes me feel like I’m a real woman..and wife!

  7. Istin says

    I loved checking out your IG especially your #bebengcooks photo. Like I’ve always said, whenever I see your food pics, I always wish you were my neighbor so I could taste all your great food. :D
    Congrats on your first article here at makeitblissful :)

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