my guest post on Just Bento

I was terribly flattered when my food blogging inspiration, Maki of Just Hungry/Just Bento, recently asked me to contribute a guest post to Just Bento. I’ve learnt so much from her and am really glad to be able to share something with her too.

I decided to write about my general approach to bento-ing, which you can read here on Just Bento. It’s thanks to Maki that I made the effort to collate and summarise the basic principles that inform what I do and so fundamental are these to my blog that I have also included the information here as a series of “bento primer” tips.

One year and ten months since I started Main-Main Masak-Masak, and things seem to have come full circle :). This blog has matured and my food journey has slowed down, no longer the hectic, frantic pace to find ways to deal with my food sensitivities and the excitement of sharing new discoveries on this blog. I now know what works for me and there are reliable strategies and recipes I can turn to repeatedly. Hence the lower frequency of postings of late, but I will continue to add notes and ideas that are worth sharing — time permitting also!

I’ve loved the cooking and the world of ingredients, perhaps even the challenge of working around of food restrictions, but these things have now become internalised and my journey of food discovery has reached a plateau (for now). However, instead of having my mental and emotional energy consumed by thinking about food, I can turn my time and life to other pursuits. I was going to say ‘I got my life back’ but food & cooking is a still a wonderful and treasured part of my life, something I wish I could slow down and savour more *^_^*.

New: subscribe by email function

Thanks to a request by Canton Pixie, I made the effort to find out how to set up subscriptions by email for new entries to this blog.

If you want to receive email updates, please click this link:
Subscribe to Main-Main Masak-Masak by Email
(also can be found at bottom of the right-hand sidebar).

Thanks for being interested in my blog :) !

Alive

In case you were wondering, this blog is still alive and I’m still cooking and baking and managing food sensitivities on a daily basis.

It’s the new WordPress dashboard that’s been defeating me: for some reason, the visual editor for writing posts refuses to appear on any browser on my Windows XP computer and between coping with my hectic schedule plus the cooking, I had no energy or patience left to struggle with WordPress. Not to mention the fact that even if I were to use the HTML editor, the WordPress server is so slow as to often be unusable when it comes to composing posts!

I’ve now turned to trying out non-XP computers and experimenting with offline editors. But since they are not my regular computer, blogging has become a task I need to specifically set out to do, with all my photos prepared and placed on external storage media, and which involves working with unfamiliar systems and software, rather than something I can do quickly in random moments of inspiration. All rather large obstacles to posting regular updates!

Will try to navigate a solution to all this and resume sharing my new ideas and recipes here soon.

New page: Q&A

The search engine terms that lead to my blog sometimes include questions that I haven’t addressed directly in my postings, but which I do know the answer to. So this new ‘Q&A’ page is for those questions and answers in the hope that someone will find the information useful.

Do leave a comment on the ‘Q&A’ page if you have any questions. I will post an answer if  I already know it at my fingertips. For more difficult questions,  you might need to do more research of your own, I’m afraid :)!

My new Flickr page

Selected photos from this blog now available on my Flickr page.

There are three photo sets:

New page on flours

Have been reading up on different types of flours used in the Chinese and Japanese recipes I’ve been looking at recently. See my notes here (or click on tab at top of page).

Quick links to useful posts

As the postings accumulate on this blog, it’s getting a bit hard for me to navigate back to pages with useful reference information, so I’ve set up a new tabbed page, ‘Useful posts‘, to compile a list of internal links.

New page: wallpapers

As I have been using some of my food photographs as desktop wallpapers, thought I’d share them here with you as well.  Just click on the the ‘Wallpapers‘ tab at the top of the page.

My bookshelf

After grappling with the problems of using LibraryThing, I’ve decided to start a new page to list some of my food-related books in different languages – please click on the tab, ‘Bookshelf‘, at the top of the screen.

This will link into my LibraryThing page (also linked from sidebar), which I’ll continue to use for English-language books only.

For Chinese and Japanese books, I’ll just list them directly on their own blog pages. I’ll try to get book cover photos from online retailers with links to them, so that you can click through for further publication details. No commercial interest on my part whatsoever.

I rarely shop online so these books have been purchased from shops in Singapore, usually Kinokuniya, sometimes also Borders, Page One, Popular Bookstore and Commercial Press. Select Books also has an excellent collection of books on Southeast Asia and does international mail order.

Non-English books & LibraryThing

Last night, I was ecstatic to realise that LibraryThing connects to Amazon.co.jp which means I can add in my bento books (see ‘My Bookshelf’ and ‘New on my bookshelf’ sections in my sidebar, right at the bottom).

But there are some major problems. Firstly, the search engine appears to be useless if you key in Japanese text though – it seems to return with every single thing on Amazon Japan! ISBN is the only way to go. Secondly, I now discover that for some of the Japanese items, although the correct titles & book covers appear on my list of books, if you click on them to see publication info and other readers’ comments, entirely different books appear!

I’m also frustrated – there are no sources for searching Chinese books on LibraryThing. There are a number of university libraries that the service links into which probably have some Chinese titles, but I really doubt they have the latest publications on cooking Chinese desserts! I’ve tried keying in the titles manually but it’s too time-consuming and there won’t be any book covers and other information.

Looks like I might have to forget about using LibraryThing for sharing my Asian languages bookshelf for now.

Anyway, to whet your appetite, here are some new Chinese books I recently picked up at Kinokuniya’s Xmas season 20% discount offer for members.

圖解食物營養素 圖解食物營養素
蘋果屋編輯部蘋果屋,出版日期:2007/04/25

幸福的甜品 幸福的甜品
鄭慧芳
萬里機構,出版日期:2007/01/25

超簡單手工麻糬 超簡單手工麻糬
楊桃文化編輯部楊桃文化,出版日期:2007/06/27

糕&炒年糕 糕&炒年
金華/著笛藤,出版日期:2002/12/06

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