By: Ilona Salim
For many of us, if asked to pinpoint a moment in our lives when we truly started to cook, it would likely be
during our college years. Whether you were thrown out of your comfy nest or decided to leap into the world of independent living, cooking became an urgently important skill to add to your imaginary “adulting” LinkedIn profile.
The first cooking experience varies from person to person -- where one person might have discovered their new passion, another ends up distancing themselves as far away as possible from the kitchen. Many people claim that cooking will always be difficult - “it takes too much time and effort. If you think about it, groceries probably cost the same amount as take-out!”. If you identify with this, fear not. The “Unmeasurable Recipes” cookbook is upon us.
What is “Unmeasurable Recipes”, you ask? It is Eugenia Agnes’ heart and soul poured into pages. After graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Marketing and Information Systems, Agnes decided to compile some of her favorite Asian dishes and turn it into a cookbook. She hopes to inspire beginner cooks to try new dishes without having to expand their grocery lists. Hope you enjoy our short interview with her!
Hi there Bitesize Family! My name is Agnes and I am a self-taught food enthusiast (wouldn't call myself a chef just yet), who loves to try and cook a variety of dishes. Other than that, I am just your average person who embodies the soul of an ajumma.
Hi Agnes, I love that introduction! To give our readers a better idea, could you give us a little introduction to your cookbook? What are your hopes for it?
I created this cookbook in hopes to inspire others to start cooking. I want to let my readers know that cooking is not as intimidating as it seems. Don’t worry about breaking the bank, because you can create a variety of amazing dishes with just a few staple ingredients!
Apart from that, I feel that it is important for people to know that Asian dishes can be made simple too! Generally, the dishes are made up of similar components; the slight difference in ingredients just depends on the cuisine you are cooking. You’d be surprised by how many ingredients overlap across these dishes!
Lastly, this cookbook is meant to break the stigma about cooking-- it isn’t about being precise with measurements and ingredients. In reality, you can create good dishes without professional skills because, at the end of the day, food should be created the way you like it to taste.
Well said! I agree that Asian dishes can be very intimidating to beginner cooks, so I’m glad your cookbook is easing them into it. Your readers are going to love their new go-to dishes. We are curious to know, what sparked this idea for you?
My close friends actually encouraged me to start a food blog or account on Instagram because they saw how much I enjoyed cooking. However, I saw that a lot of people -- especially during quarantine -- were also starting their own accounts. So, I decided to do something a little different and challenge myself to create something that can be useful for other people.
Were you always into cooking? If not, how did you start getting into it?
I always loved to cook and go to grocery stores as a kid, but it was Masterchef Junior that inspired me to do more and pushed me to explore outside my comfort zone. I remember young Agnes trying to bake a soufflé in a toaster oven because I didn't have a convection oven at home haha!
When I went to college, I had to become more conscious of my spending, so I cooked even more! In the US, I found it easy to get ingredients for a variety of cuisines for a good deal. I started to enjoy replicating my favorite dishes at home.
For those who are interested, how can they get a hold of it?
You can purchase the cookbook through this link (https://moremediajkt.com/shop-1/un-measurable-recipes ) which will be live starting this Saturday (October 10th, 2020) I hope you'll enjoy trying out the different recipes I put together.
Any tips for beginner cooks?
Don't be afraid to fail! I think it's a given. Just like everything else, you need practice. So start with easy recipes -- or, you can even subscribe to services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron where everything is provided for you -- and work from there. Eventually, cooking will become second nature.
If you think about it, the worst-case scenario when cooking for yourself is the dish not turning out the way you hoped it would - but I bet it would still be good enough to eat! If you’re cooking for a group of people, I’m sure they’ll be grateful for all the hard work you put into it.
You are so right! At the end of the day, you can eat your failures! Any upcoming plans?
Hopefully, if this cookbook picks up, I would love to do a volume 2! I wrote down all my ideas for it already hahaha (I’m getting ahead of myself). Other than that, I'm also brainstorming other ideas for new platforms to share my passion for food with other people.
In honor of Agnes’ cookbook release, we decided to do a preview by cooking up one of her dishes from Volume 1. Below is our take on her Amah’s Stir Fried Beehoon.