Friday, November 7, 2014

Putting Food On The Table - Limpeh陪你们一起吃饭

Weeks ago when the other daddy bloggers broached the idea of having a link-up and scheduling a special blog chain together, I thought it was a great idea. And when they mentioned that it would be something about "putting food on the table", I still didn't think much about it then until it was nearing my turn to post. And when I read the first few posts that went live, I thought to myself that "that's it!". First it was the Eddie from Stranger In Bangkok who started the chain with an article on "8 Tips for Cooking Dads", followed by Liren from Becoming Home with a minimalist recipe of soya sauce minced pork here and find out what you should use to make Soya Bean Milk!  I broke into cold sweat and thought of wriggling my way out. What can they do? Ban me meh?

Anyway fine... Since they started the ball rolling, I thought maybe I could whip up a simple meal with the help of online recipes but first, I need to find the time to do so. But darn, work kept me occupied for a good part of every day and weekends were always filled with activities for the kids. Swimming lessons on Saturdays and dance classes on Sundays plus all the other activities after the classes on BOTH days.  How to find time to learn for this NON-COOKING dad? One might say these are all excuses but it's really really tough to deal with 4 kids and it doesn't help that my wife have to work pass 10pm these couple of weeks lor.

Actually to save time these days, meal times for me these couple of weeks, consisted of me eating my own dinner after getting off work and then rushing to childcare to fetch the 3 older kids. After reaching home, I would usually try to feed the 3 kids the home-cooked food by my mother-in-law as it would be much faster rather than waiting for them to eat on their own. Even then, by the time I finish that and bathing them, it would have been around 9pm already.  Even blogging also no time, how to cook with the 4 kids around sia?

Since I can't cook for goodness sake, I decided to just put food on the table lor.  No one said it was restricted only to food that the daddies cook right? So I decided to buy back food 2 days back, instead of having a quickie dinner outside on my own.  I also cleared the dining table too (those who knew what kind of mess it was in, would know that it was tough work ok!?)  I told the kid that daddy was going to have dinner TOGETHER with them!  There was some initial resistance from Stacci who requested that I have to feed her, but after some cajoling, she ate on her own without a fuss. Unfortunately my wife still had to work late and Louie can't join in too, so it wasn't the "full" family dinner that I would have wished for.

Putting food on the table is easy peasy! Even Leroy can do it!
So how our "family" dinner went, you might ask?  I thought it was a great experience, since it was something I had wished for all these while, to sit down with the whole family to have a meal and catch up with each other.  I took a couple of shots of the kids and myself at the dining table, with the crispy noodles I packed from the coffee shop opposite my block and the noodles that my mother-in-law cooked for the kids. The kids ate their noodles on their own, and we chatted about how their day was at school while they asked about how I was coping with my stage fright when giving training at work.  So the importance to me, would not be about the food preparation prior to putting food on the table, or the food itself, but rather what happens after, the family bonding.  Simply heartwarming...

Having dinner with the 3 kiddos just so I can take a group photo and write this blog post.
It is the quality family time that I long for, away from the modern distractions such as the TV, smart phones or tablets.  Except for the yearly reunion dinner we had, I couldn't really recall any particular family dinners I had together with my own elder brothers and parents. My brothers must have had their own activities with friends then, as our age gap was quite wide.  I wished my relationship with my brothers was closer. And I hope my kids would treasure family ties, so I am trying to start them young now, by having dinner together first.  

Ok I shall come clean. What I wrote earlier, about our first try at having a "family" dinner was a farce. No doubt the kids did eat on their own, but there were also lots of quarreling between the kids, and I even raised my voice at the kids, asking them to sit properly, to put their toys aside, not to play with their food and basically to shout up. There wasn't much talking, for I was basically checking my messages every now and then, and trying to finish my dinner quickly so that I can proceed to bath the kids and get the rest of the things I needed to get done, done.  This blog post inclusive.

Despite the hiccups, I think this is a good start nevertheless. Kids being kids, this is how they would behave I guess. At least I have them captive now at their age for I had been given the same advice by lots of parents now that kids grow up in the blink of an eye. But I am hopeful that I had planted the seed in them, so much so that when they are grow older, they can fulfill my dream of having warm family dinners together, and not only during festive seasons.

Meanwhile I shall look forward to my wife settling back to regular work hours after this hectic period so that we can really start to have our dinner together, as a family. For now, I guess I will have to make do with whoever is available (for dinner), while both my wife and myself continue to work hard to “put food on the table” or like what others say, "to bring home the bacon"!

Sorry if you had to read the entire post trying to find some hidden food recipe, for there were non. But you can sure check out the recipes of the others by following the link below, except for the salad recipe by Daddy Chow and the Spunky Kids, cause his also cannot eat one lor. But perhaps you can still have some takeaway after reading this post. How about spending more quality time with your family over meal time for a start?  

Stranger in Bangkok

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