I've been a home cook for a number of years now. I started taking it more seriously when Lexi and her mom gifted me a set of knives my third year of college, hoping to inspire me to make things other than hard-boiled eggs that ultimately failed (How do you mess up hard-boiled eggs, anyway? I never fail to impress myself!)

So, what was once a goal of attempting one (1) new recipe a week in 2016 became a goal of attempting new recipes every day, week after week. It's how I went from messing up scrambled eggs to making comforting pork pozole and perfectly crispy chicken katsu and neatly plated teriyaki chicken + rice and, my fanciest meal to date, lobster citrus á la nage. All this from a girl who once caught a microwave on fire due to forgetting her fork in the bowl!? Yup. What's that famous line from Disney's Ratatouille? Oh, right: anyone can cook.

Over the last few years, I've attempted all sorts of recipes. I'm really good at Italian, Thai, Caribbean, American, Mexican, and even African! (Jollof rice, anybody?) However, the type of cuisines that I had intentionally stayed away from...were my own. Until recently, I had not attempted a single Vietnamese or Chinese dish. When you grow up with a father who professionally caters and a mother who makes the best home-cooked meals you've ever had, you start believing that those dishes are untouchable. You don't attempt to make them on your own because you're afraid of tainting their memory. In the back of my mind, I truly believed that no Vietnamese or Chinese dish I made would compare to my parents' cooking.

I'm happy to share that this is no longer my belief. Last week, I made bánh xèo for the very first time. And then I made ếch with muối tiêu chanh and lemongrass beef salad. And a few nights ago, I made cà ri gà. The first two tasted just like my parents' cooking; the third, not so much. And that's okay! Because if I've realized anything after four years of cooking at home, it's that I'm still learning. And when it comes to Vietnamese/Chinese food, I would say that I'm just getting started.

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