Dancing and Cooking

Tonight, I feel really good.

After many days of 6-hour long rehearsals, and many more months of hard work prior to that, tonight, we finally opened.

It was a really good show. I felt so much energy in all of our performances. I’m extremely excited to see how this can be intensified over the next three days. (Our shows on all four days sold out!)

The theme of our production is about bring together dance/theater and activism, both political and social. I find the body to be a very powerful tool for conveying messages about issues like political disappearance and other human rights abuses in a way that words cannot achieve.

I came back to the apartment after the show, and because we’ve already opened and so no longer have tech rehearsals that end at 11pm, and because I am, for once, actually on top of my work, I decided that I didn’t have to sleep early, so I went ahead and… cooked.

I feel really, really good tonight, and it makes me realize two things —

One, that I actually like performing. Theater, dance, singing, I’ve done them all, several times over, and even though I loved the process of choreographing, rehearsing, and finally, performing, I thought of them as nothing more than fun experiences. Now I’m thinking I like performing a lot more than just because it is “fun”. Once you start “owning” your performance, you really start seeing it as a way of self-expression.

Second thing I realized– I love to cook. I actually do! Today, upon realizing that I finally have some free time on my hands, I was actually excited to cook something. I’ve been so busy over the past 3 weeks that the only “cooking” I did was spread cream cheese over bagels. Eating out or going to the dining hall was just much faster.

When we first moved into this apartment last year, whenever I cooked, I was apprehensive about sharing my food with my friends because I would be too worried that I made something that tasted bad. Now, when I cook, I sometimes hope that someone would come home by the time I’m done, because I’m actually excited to share my food.

I look at recipes online a lot and get ideas from them, but I’ve never cooked with a recipe in front of me. I think what I love most about cooking is being able to improvise — searching through the spice cabinet, picking up a shaker and going, “oh hey, let’s try putting this in!” — and hoping that the end result is good. Sometimes I fail, but it’s totally okay because I’m very forgiving of myself.

No one from Malaysia knows I cook though, because I don’t talk about it, and I don’t take pictures and post them online. But I’ve been getting more and more unafraid, sometimes coming up with a recipe that’s completely my own. Sometimes it works very well, sometimes I fail, but I eat it and stick the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day anyway.

(One of the most consistent failures — fried rice. It’s the thing I always make when I want to use up leftovers, and most importantly, when I’m feeling lazy, which means I’ve made it a hundred times; sometimes they turn out looking really delicious, but good looks aside, they never taste as good as I want them to be, without cheating and using stock cubes.)

Anyway. Today, at 10pm, I made baked potato fries. They turned out extremely well, and were so simple that they took less than 10 minutes to prepare! (My recipe: Wash potatoes well, cut into long, thin strips — the thinner they are, the crispier they’ll turn out, put into bowl and toss with olive oil, finely chopped garlic, dried basil/Italian seasoning, and a bit of lemon juice. Spread potatoes on baking tray, and bake at 410 degrees for 20-30 minutes.) So crispy, so flavorful, so delicious.

I’m also making chicken, vegetable and tomato stew, which is now simmering over the stove as I write. It’s too late for dinner, so I’m saving it for lunch for tomorrow and the day after that.

It’s looking good though.


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