On June 4th 2012, Eizwan and I have been officially married for two years. Which is, if you know me, very odd that I did not take time to write a long and slightly nauseatingly love letter to my husband. It is not, as some of you may think, that my obsession for *insert handsome actor’s name* that had made me forget that I was married (it doesn’t take a handsome actor really, I still stare blankly at the bank clerk when they address me as Puan Adlina. Like, who on earth is this Mrs Adlina? She has my name too!). Nor is it the case that I had been lulled into complacency. Second year married? Wahey, onto the next twenty with no trouble at all!
What I really wanted to do this year, was find an angle that truly reflected how I feel. It would be much easier to write about how much more I love Eizwan this year than I did last and I’m sure I’ll love him more the next (yawn) but I did not feel like it reflected the grittiness and the reality of marriage. Not to say marriage is gritty or anything. I’m no princess but I’m certainly not a cowboy.
I finally figured it out. It is this:
Yes, it is a picture of a multicooker in the dark. That is my kitchen cupboard of doom, or more accurately, table of doom. This is where I store my cooking stuff that I don’t use very often and since I tend to collect random weird cooking equipment, I have a ton. At the back there is an ice-cream maker that is as old as I am. We’ve only used it once and nearly gotten frostbite from it. We have not used it since as it would be too embarrassing to end up in the ER in a Malaysian hospital explaining how we ended up with frostbite from a nearly 30 year old ice-cream machine.
This rather manky multi-cooker is our Kenwood multi-cooker that we received as a wedding present. When Eizwan and I moved into our present home, we did not have a gas cooker. Heck, we did not have anything at the time, and we had our meals in the living room on a cardboard box covered with a tablecloth as a makeshift table.
As newlyweds, everything was very, very confusing. Our current house is a little odd. It’s an old house, nearly 40 years old and with its age comes legacy and old-fashioned practices that I don’t believe in. One of them being, cooking outside in what Malaysians call the ‘wet kitchen’.
The thing is, cooking outside…that ain’t my thang. Mosquitoes are predisposed to liking me and where I live, outside means your dinner is fair game to all the stray cats outside. I lose to my kitties all the time so why should I battle cats that are far more worldly-wise than my own?
And so I refused to cook outside.
This was apparently a rather controversial declaration. As newlyweds, it sprung a thousand advices and helpful suggestions from everyone on how we should manage our kitchen. And people get offended when you refuse to take their advice, taking it as a personal affront.
Deluged with advice and suggestions, we opted to just stick with the multicooker as a temporary measure until we could find a more workable solution.
The thing about life is that you don’t actually ever get a break with anything even if you were newlyweds trying to set up a new home. It was more of a get on with it. So our temporary measure became more of a permanent fixture. Eizwan got a new job which requires long hours of commuting whilst I threw myself wholeheartedly into writing and entrepreneurship. Other things took priority like getting a dining table so that you can stop eating off the floor – that sort of thing.
Without realizing it, the Kenwood became our lifesaver. I cooked everything, and I mean everything with it. There’s no excuse if you don’t have a kitchen – you can cook with a multicooker. I’ve thrown dinner parties, made stock, cooked soups and pasta, fried chicken. Everything you can think off, I had done it in the Kenwood.
The poor Kenwood was subjected to immense abuse over the past two years. We’ve dropped it twice, severely dented it and had to knock it to get it to fit back in the cooker. I’ve left it on for ages as I made stew, and then put it on high heat in an attempt to do a deep fry (doesn’t do it very well). Cooking started to take forever as the heavy use begins taking its toll on the little cooker. Nearly a year and a half later, the cooker was starting to show its age: it took much longer to heat up, the pan heated up unevenly and it did not stay as long as it should. We decided to look for a more permanent solution that suited us. This time round, we wizened up as a married couple – we didn’t bother to ask anyone for their opinion. See there? Important lesson there kiddies, only you know what’s best for yourself. The less input you get, the less controversial it becomes.
A week before our wedding anniversary, we finally invested in a gas cooker, one that we could use inside just fine. Of course, my first reaction was like, good Lord, how on earth did I manage for the past two years? Cooking with the gas cooker is just amazeballs! It’s so much faster, the heat is more even and I can finish dinner in 10 minutes on some days.
Eizwan felt a little sad that we had to retire the Kenwood after its long service to us. He felt like we were betraying the cooker. But we thought it’s best to just leave the cooker to do simple boiling instead as opposed to ‘betraying’ it by retiring it completely now that we have gotten a new toy in the house.
But on the day after we got our gas cooker, when we switched on our multicooker to boil our potatoes, it would not switch on.
Eizwan was devastated. He felt that the poor Kenwood must have died, feeling abandoned after we got our cooker.
But…I have a different theory when it comes to this multi-cooker. In my mind, the end of the multi-cooker so closely to our wedding anniversary seems…kinda special. It was as though the little cooker had worked so hard to take care of us, to provide for us that as soon that it knew that we were okay, it was okay to go.
Last year, I waxed lyrical and thanked Eizwan for being my best friend and thanked him for being there for me, for making our marriage work. When the little cooker died, there were a few things I learnt that was fitting for our anniversary.
This little cooker, in a romantic sense, in its humble glory was there for us. It helped us prepare food, our meals that we shared together. It wasn’t perfect but it was a means for me to cook a meal for both me and Eizwan. It went beyond just means. Sure it was slow, and the heat was never high enough but I learnt to be more creative when it comes to cooking, I dare say I am a better chef as a result of that little cooker. As cumbersome as cooking with a multicooker might be, it was an indispensible part of our kitchen and since the two of us spend long hours in the kitchen cooking together (either unintentionally or intentionally), in a way in brought the two of us together.
Sometimes I can easily get caught up with life, and I spend a lot of time hoping for better things. A better car, a better rented property or heck, a house to call my own that I fail to see that what I have now, what I have around me is supporting the two of us the best they way they can. While it may be tempting to congratulate only ourselves for another year of marriage, I should not forget that we got this far because so many people have supported us (granted, Eizwan and I did play a major role, this is our marriage after all).
The little cooker is my reminder to myself that I could not have gotten this far with Eizwan, without the support of everything and everyone around me, and that I should look around and see, that despite things looking dire sometimes, I am very truly blessed.
Happy 2nd anniversary, my dear husband, Eizwan. I love you always.