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[back] Cooking Up a Storm at the Parkinson Center Sara Lew - 02 August 2008

Cooking Up a Storm at the Parkinson Center

Some people might think I am crazy, but at every opportunity, I like to cook at the Parkinson Center. Is it really a fun place for cooking with friends. In fact, this place has become a meeting point where our members of different races come together to share their culinary skills with each other. Thus far, we have dished up Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes such as Nasi Beranyi, curry chicken, murukko, mooncakes, etc. by both patients and their caregivers.

While cooking can be a chore to some people, cooking, on the other hand, is an excellent therapeutic activity for a lot of people. The joy of cooking can take loads of tension off your body and the art of cooking involves a wide variety of skills and techniques that can be an interesting and rewarding activity for even people with Parkinson's. Cooking sessions held at the center are also in part, to facilitate maximal occupational functioning amongst our PD patients so that they can face the daily challenges in everyday living. It is therefore, with this hope that "people, through the use of their hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of their own health" (Reilly, 1962).

On 2 August 2008, I invited two of my coursemates from the University of Malaya where we are pursuing our post-graduate course, to teach us Chinese Muslim cuisine from China at the Parkinson Center. The two young ladies, LiYan and Yan Yan come from the states of Lanzhou and Sinkiang respectively. They taught us how to cook two dishes, that is, Chinese dumplings and Lamian (noodles). Lamian is basically Chinese stretch noodles made from wheat flour dough which can be stretched by hand to a very fine thickness.

Below are pictures that highlight the activities done on that day.

Getting ready the ingredients. From L to R: Choi Yoke, Cheryl, Siew Lian, Liyan & Yan Yan  Dumplings made from wheat flour, prawns, chives & eggs

Siew Lian and Yan Yan ready to turn the whipped eggs into omelet for the dumplings  Rolling and pinching the wrappers into nicely shaped dumplings is an art

YanYan frying the omelet for the dumplings  The fried omelet is finely diced by Mrs. Lock who is really skillful in this task. The diced omelet together with the diced chives and prawns are used as fillings for the dumplings

A good "Sifu" with a keen learner in Mrs. Lock. Cheryl (in black) seems to be doing well on her own  Yan Yan, showing Ms. Wang the right way to making dumplings

Our administrator, Rose a.k.a Mooi Kwai with the wrapped dumplings which are ready for cooking  Ms. Wang watches over the dumplings to ensure that they are properly cooked. The dumplings can either be cooked in hot water or shallow fried in a pan

Liyan showing the way how to make noodles. One really needs practice to make it perfect. Siew Lian trying hard to keep the the noodle from snapping while the rest held their breath and watched in suspense  So far so good for Ms. Wang who is happy with her progress but alas! Sara's attempt went awry; the noodle strand snapped!

"Oh dear me!", bemoaned Sara much to the amusement of Ms. Wang. "My noodle is all tangled up this time!"   Liyan cooking in style the side vegetables dishes to go with the noodles

Julie Goh turned food taster with Sara standing close by to steal a trick or two from Chef Liyan   Food, glorious food! All is well and ends well. It is time to have a yummy time!

But what were the rest of the other folks doing at the center while the chef wannabes were busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Well, they surely knew how to amuse themselves as you can see the below pictures.

Mdm Lau Kwai Hing, Dr. Lai, Mr. & Mrs Lock Kuan Hun showed off their singing skill at a Karaoke Session at the center  On the sideline is Mdm Wang exercising her legs on a peddling machine

She's 93 and still going strong. Dr Lai's mother knows a nutritious vegetable when see sees one. Here she's seen plucking sweet potatoes leaves from the garden  

A tete-a-tete amongst patients and caregivers can be enlightening  Mr. Phoon Kai Seng seems immersed in his reading at the corner

Mdm. Lim Ee Kiow is contented just relaxing at the sitting room with her maid and watching the activities around her  Mr Sivaraman and Mr. Lock have matters to discuss in the office

The cooking session was also a good day for bonding among each other. If anyone of our readers is interested to share their culinary skills, please contact the Parkinson Center so that we can organized more cooking sessions like the above.