Cooking as parenting

A friend – a he with kids in college – suggested I browse Panlasang Pinoy, an online cookbook of Filipino dishes.  We were talking about how we had run out of dishes to cook, three meals a day 365 days a year and god, for how many more years for the kids, because if I were the only one in the house I’d just grab any edible thing in the kitch.  Kids changed that, and for the best.  Before my talk with my friend, I thought I was the only parent who had run out of ideas which in turn push me to obsess over not being a good parent because a good parent always makes magic in the kitchen – isn’t that what we girls were taught?   And there’s another friend, another he with an adopted child, who made the same confession.  It’s a comfort to know such is a normal thing even among men which means the ability to cook has nothing to do with one’s gender or how good one is at parenting.

In the movie The Holidays, Jude Law’s character a  widowed parent of two tells Cameron Diaz’ character that the last thing he does after editing manuscripts and before hitting bed at night is to go over the cookbook.  And it hit me– that’s it, that’s what makes parents become better at or at least keep up with cooking– to have the initiative to search, explore, discover recipes even in the dead of night and then actually do them.

Like this, with kikiam as the main ingredient.  I haven’t thought of kikiam as a dish before this:

 Kikiam Recipe


  •   1 lb. ground pork
  •   1/2 lb. shrimp, minced
  •   1 medium carrot, minced
  •   1 medium onion, minced
  •   1 tablespoon five spice powder
  •   2 teaspoons salt
  •   1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •   1 tablespoon cornstarch diluted in 2
  •    tablespoons water
  •   6 pieces bean curd sheets (tawpe)
  •   1 cup cooking oil

Cooking Procedure

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, shrimp, carrot, onion, five spice powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Lay a piece of bean curd sheet flat on a table. Scoop a decent amount of pork mixture and arrange it at one end of the bean curd sheet.
  3. Fold the top and bottom ends of the bean curd sheets and then roll the sides until a sausage-like figure is formed. Dip your fingers in the cornstarch mixture and run it on the end of the bean curd sheet. This will help secure the kikiam.
  4. Prepare the steamer. Pour-in 4 cups of water and let boil. Arrange the kikiam in the steamer and then steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the steamer and then set aside. Note: You can place some in the freezer for later use once the temperature goes down or you can fry everything at once.
  6. Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
  7. Pan-fry the kikiam until the wrapper turns golden brown.
  8. Remove from the pan and then slice into serving pieces.

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