How I came to love cooking


I love cooking. That wasn’t always the case. Up until a few years ago, I never set foot in a kitchen except to eat, clean, or observe. I left food preparation to the pros – my mother, sister, brother and just about anyone else who would feed me. 

The first time I had to fend for myself was junior year of college. I was studying abroad in Paris, and no longer had access to a dining hall or my mom’s cooking. Eating out every meal wasn’t an option. Baguettes, crepes, wine and cheese are not the makings of a nutritious diet. So I slowly started experimenting with basic meals like pasta and canned sauce, and rice and canned lentils with a simple salad. With the help of Google, I learned a few recipes and became more confident.

Chef Nanju.2 emerged after I graduated college, got a job, and moved into my very first (shared) apartment. I quickly discovered that eating out everyday was unhealthy for both my waistline and my wallet. I enlisted the help of a few relatives and friends. They helped me equip my first kitchen and expand my culinary abilities. I learned how to cook simple, balanced meals for myself. I also started experimenting with different styles of cooking and developed a few of my own special recipes. 

Thing were going well until a visit to a naturopathic doctor in 2014 confirmed that my chronic migraines were caused by certain foods. I learned that for most of my life, I’d been poisoning myself by trying to nourish my body and enjoy my favorite past time. With some radical modifications to my diet and cooking habits, I’ve been migraine-free for almost two years.

My diet is still very restricted, but I’ve adjusted to it and have rediscovered my passion for experimenting in the kitchen. I refuse to let my food sensitivities take away from how I experience food. I find inspiration for recipes in a lot of places. I usually have to make a few adjustments to recipes, so I’ll be writing about them to keep myself organized.

Walk into my kitchen on any given day and you’ll probably find me playing with a new ingredient or trying to make a recipe edible for me.