I inherited a family heirloom! Well, I just discovered that these aluminum, metal things were specially designed by my grandmother, crafted by a tradesman, for a singular purpose, passed down to my mum and now quite possibly to me! I earned my stripes.

Trays! That’s what they are. Baking trays. How about gold jewellery or porcelain crockery or maybe paintings???


17 Feb 15 1

I only do get to meet them once a year and I do recollect spending pre-Chinese New Year days at Ah Kong and Mama’s house watching the matriarchs of the family preparing a feast and cooking up a storm and baking their hearts out. Using these trays. They have been used and abused and if food taste better in claypots over time because of what’s left behind then our cookies have to taste glorious. All in the name of the highest form of hygiene and sanitation. Our favourite was Kueh Bunga, aka “flower biscuit”.

17 Feb 15 2

It’s a traditional Peranakan recipe, safe guarded secret of the Seet family. Not! It’s really just plain ole butter cookies but nobody can accurately explain why it’s so addictive. Once you pop you can’t stop. I remember my cousins rushing over the dark burnt cookies, picking out those with the green cherries and it’s the case of fastest fingers first. It still is! And yes, even now, as I type, one hand is on my keyboard and the other is busy shoving cookies into my mouth, we’ll take care of the crumbs on the keyboard later.

I have been participating in the annual Peranakan fiesta so I guess it’s only right that these precious trays are mine to keep. Baking is one thing. *pat on my shoulder* Cooking is another. My mum has successfully accomplished peranakan cooking but I can’t say the same for me. I’m baffled at how people can cook without weights and measures and everything is handed down orally. It is an art! “You add the turmeric powder until the gravy turns this colour!” That’s what my mum says. Huh??? My photographic memory powers are not that fantastic. “Add the sugar till it tastes like this.” And she hands the spoon to me. Hmm, how to record that? That’s probably why Peranakan cooking is so prized. I don’t know. Anyways, the tub of buah keluak is soaking not far from me. Next week I get to try my hand at learning the art of peranakan cuisine. Again. I wish myself luck! 

Nyonya Mel