Lessons from a frying pan

I’ve moved out for nearly two years now. But for the life of me, I can’t explain why I never got myself a non-stick frying pan until about a week ago.

I’ve got lots of excuses, but living with a flatmate who seems to survive on instant noodles and boiled vegetables alone doesn’t really provide culinary inspiration you know?

I’m always rushing in and out of the house going somewhere. To work, to hockey, to see my mum and dad, to climbing, to meet up with a friend. When I get back, it is usually too late, I am usually starving, and I still have to wash and dry my hair, do the laundry, play a few tunes on the uke, watch Discovery channel…..you know the deal.

With only a single induction cooker, I whined about having to find special (and expensive) induction-cooker-abled non-stick pans – I couldn’t seem to find any (on my cursory walk-by inspections of homeware stores).

And so I made do with whatever I can make in a single stainless steel pot: soup, soup noodles, spaghetti, and chilli. Oh, and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I actually make really good chilli you know, but you can only eat so much of that stuff on your own.

We actually have a pan, someone donated it to us when we first moved in, but it’s stainless steel and when I tried frying something on it, the washing up was a hard-scrubbing suffer-fest. That thing has been sitting in the back of the cupboard ever since. Needless to say, most of the time I am relegated to eating out.

Then the other day, I was doing my weekly shop when an on sale sign caught my eye. I pushed my cart over to this row of pots and pans that I’ve never really noticed before and found that a whole bunch of non-stick pans are on sale. Perhaps I’ve been sick of eating out. For a while now, I’ve been frustrated at not being able to eat a good old simple homemade nutritious meal. Perhaps it was for want of making some sort of display of effort for myself, so I don’t feel so dismal about my cooking. Nonetheless, I picked one up and voila, right on the front it says “INDUCTION COOKER”.

What followed is what one of my friends describe as me “having just discovered that I can  walk without realising it and gushing about it”. A few days later, I came home from work earlier, sliced up one whole courgette and halved some cherry tomatoes, and pan-fried them with a fillet of salmon. Add in a bit of salt and pepper, I ate the whole lot with a leftover slice of bread. Honestly, together with listening to some good music and putting in some good practice on my uke, that meal and that evening gave me more satisfaction than anything I’ve done at work since probably last summer.

I spent the next few days marveling about non-stick frying pans. I swear they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Some congratulate me on being able to cook a decent meal now, and some, like that friend, roll their eyes at me like I’ve just told them the world is round.

To me, the point here is, you know what, sometimes you don’t need a whole darn lot to be happy. It’s the simplest things that matter. It’s the little things that make a difference, such as being able to make yourself a nice meal, being able to relax at home. It doesn’t always have to be about having a car or buying a flat or chasing that bump up in your monthly pay. The little things add up – which in my case is thinking for so long that I can make do without a proper pan. So what if campers manage to cook with just basic cookware? In the long run, investing in some little good stuff goes a long way. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to marvel at the little things. Look around you, that are so many things we take for granted. We normally wouldn’t even think twice about our many tools and appliances at home, and the same goes for the many other things and people in our lives. I love my little non-stick pan – and I have re-learned to appreciate so many other little things because of it.

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