Jinlu’s Cooking Style

Note: This is an article turned from a Toastmaster Club Speech. 

The other day, our club president approached me and asked: “Jinlu, you are a Chinese, so could you tell me the best Chinese restaurant nearby?” I said, “No, I cannot tell you.” I didn’t want to keep the best restaurant for myself. I simply don’t know. I cook at home almost every day. So I know very little about nearby restaurants. 

Cooking for the entire family can be challenging because different people want different things. For me, the most important thing about food is eating healthily. I use this Healthy Eating Plate from Harward Medical School as my guidance. But for my husband, all he cares about is taste. The saltier, the spicier, the greasier, the merrier. 

These are our everyday meals. I try to balance the carb, protein, and vegetable/fruit. I tried to make the ratio between them is 1:1:1. 

I try to eat healthy carbs. For example, whole grains and multiple grains. For rice, I like brown rice, but my husband prefers white rice, so our compromise is something in between, called Haiga rice, or germ rice, or rice with the embryo.

I try to integrate as many different ingredients as possible. Like in this risotto, there are green beans, peas, tomato, corn, carrot, egg, chicken underneath, and of course rice. 

Since both my husband and I work, we don’t have too much time for cooking. So easy-to-cook is my style. Here I cooked a big pan of meat. Then I divided them into 4 portions. Each of them turned into one meal for two of us. I used different vegetable and carbs to complete them. Here are cornmeal bread, noodles, potato, and corn on the cob.

Another example to demonstrate easy-to-cook style. One rotisserie chick from Costco can turn into a shredded spicy chick, Korean dish bibimbap, chicken sandwich, and chicken fried rice. And it is inexpensive too. How much is the chicken from Costco? $4.99. So the cost of one meal is probably less than 5 dollars. 

I can use different ways to cook the same thing. For example, this stuffed buns, aka Bao, can be steamed, pan-fried, or baked. They taste very differently. 

Noodles can come with different forms as well, like noodle soup, egg fried noodle, noodle with vegetable and meat, spicy noodles with hot oil, and it even can be used to substitute the rice from bibimbap. 

Most of the ingredients are interchangeable to me. For example, for this egg cake/omelet, I can use green pepper, red pepper, onion, green onion, chive, I can use diced potato, or I can even use left-over rice. 

When it’s time to cook. The decision-making process is like this. It may start with me asking my husband “what do you want to eat?” Or it starts with “What needs to be eaten?” as in the situation something in the fridge is going bad very soon. Then we decide how to cook it. Then I will complete the diet plate to balance the carb, protein, and vegetable/fruit. 

Starting from this week. I made it even easier to decide. I compiled all the pictures of food I have cooked and made an album. I called it our Family Menu. There are about 300 pictures included. Because of the time limit, I am going to go through them very quickly.

It starts with salads and cold dishes. 

Then dishes with chicken. 

Pork. 

Beef and ground turkey. 

Fish and fish fillets. 

Shrimp and crab.

Tofo, beancurd, bean sprouts, and soybeans.

Egg. 

More egg.

Vegetables.

Rice. 

Porridge and potato. 

Dumples. 

Noodles. 

Pancakes.

Other Dim Sums.

Other carb dishes and soup. 

Fruits. 

Do you like it? Do you want to try? 

Then come to my house for a Party on XX. Everyone is invited. Mr. Toastmaster.

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