Back in 2009, I had the idea for a web-based cooking show called “My Little Taiwanese Kitchen.” At the time, I was living in a fifth-floor walk-up with a kitchen the size of many Americans’ closets. Thankfully my apartment situation has improved significantly, but it’s probably still not what many Americans would be expecting. When you think of typical apartments in the US, you think of luxury, modern apartment blocks which light up the city skyline (you can see this site for an example if you’re not from the US), but here in Taiwan, the story is very different. While my apartment situation has improved, the kitchen is around the same size as before. To see what it looks like, take a look at this video:
For an exact measurement, the floorspace of my kitchen is 1m x 3m (3’3″ x 9’9″): that’s 3 square meters, 32 square feet, or just shy of 1 ping. But, as you can see in the video, a lot of the space is occupied, because there’s so little counter space (and I have “dead space” next to the door). The actual walking space is only around 10 square feet. That’s a very Little Taiwanese Kitchen.
So I had this thought. I’m an American, living in another country: I love to cook and I love to cook the kinds of food I can’t find here in Taiwan. I can promise you, My Little Taiwanese Kitchen will never showcase how to make a burger: the best burger in Taiwan is at a restaurant called Bystro, here in Taichung. So I never cook a burger – I go to my friend Patrick, who makes a burger with bacon and bleu cheese, with boardwalk fries, for US$10. But Taiwan’s Mexican and Italian fare are laughable. The Chinese food here in Taiwan is not the same as in the USA. Steak is either super-thin or super-expensive. There’s foods I miss. Thankfully, I know how to cook.
But showing people how to cook these foods I love was not the whole reason I wanted to make My Little Taiwanese Kitchen. Go measure your smallest bathroom in your house, and I’m willing to bet that it’s got around the same square footage as my operating space in my kitchen. If I can cook in an area the size of your bathroom, while filming myself and explaining how I’m cooking, then anyone can cook what I cook. I believe in keeping recipes as simple and accessible as possible; when I can’t find something I need (which happens a lot, in Taiwan), I improvise.
Four years after having the idea, I’ve started doing it. My goal is to have a show that is like a food-based Survivorman. So far, despite my writing background, I’m not scripting any of the show – I’m just cooking and filming. I’ve never edited video before; I’ve never done anything like this before. Right now, it’s starting off pretty raw, but I’m enjoying doing things in one take: I hope I have some catastrophes on camera that I can share with people. Cooking should be fun, beyond the end result of what you create – it should be enjoyable in its own right. If you can learn to enjoy cooking enough to screw up, learn, and laugh at it, then it’s one of the most amazing hobbies out there.
Who doesn’t love the idea of being able to master some of the most challenging recipes out there, whilst having a lot of fun at the same time? A lot of people can’t say this, but I think I have really started to enjoy it, and being able to taste different things has truly opened my eyes to a whole new world. I told my friend over in LA about my new found love for cooking, and he proceeded to tell me that he has recently taken up some cooking classes there, with the help of CocuSocial, (https://cocusocial.com/cooking-classes/LosAngeles) and has had an amazing time learning to cook different things, as well as trying his hand at baking when he wants to. I can’t believe it. Finally, I can talk to someone who likes cooking just as much as me. Maybe, he can give me some tips soon, as I’m always looking for new recipes to try, (and fail at). But that’s the beauty of it, and I can’t wait to continue my cooking journey.
So, that’s my introduction to My Little Taiwanese Kitchen. You can catch it on my YouTube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/jsphfrtz or check out the first two episodes, below:
Thanks for watching My Little Taiwanese Kitchen!
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