Beginner’s Choice: Friends, Food and Fun

Food diplomacy

The week has gone by quickly in the world that has been bustling with events from meetings of world leaders to the World Cup. Serious business is usually followed by the sharing of a meal at a banquet or a cocktail reception, where the mood is lighter and the host takes the occasion to render hospitality.

There is no denying that food has a place on the world stage. I came across an article entitled “What’s on the menu for APEC’s leaders?” on Thai PBS World website (8 November 2022) that said that hundreds of hours had been spent on discussing the menu. I suppose it is all part of culinary diplomacy or food diplomacy.

Sharing a meal is a good way to bond with friends. My friend Anna just moved into a new neighbourhood. Not only has she made new friends, she has started sharing her Friday night home-cooked dinner with an elderly neighbour who lives alone.

Food and neighbourliness

Anna introduced me to an Indian restaurant near her new neighbourhood, which serves Northern Indian dishes. I was introduced to missi roti, a nutty and savoury flat bread, served with a pureed mustard leaf gravy. We also had chaat, a savoury snack. We ended our meal with masala tea, which is black tea with aromatic herbs and spices. The food was good, but the company was best!

I started the week with home-made focaccia bread which was a gift from Geraldine, a lady I had heard a lot about, but had never met. I had known her sister and her daughters for some time. I was thinking that I had to thank her for the treat.

Focaccia forever

I had the chance to meet Geraldine yesterday when she dropped by. I thanked her for the focaccia. She came prepared to teach us how to make focaccia so that we can always have home-made focaccia. She also made pizza dough for our Italian night. Geraldine loves to bake breads and her children love her pizzas.

Sunday breakfast treat

Nellie baked an orange breakfast cake which she learnt from Ayelen. It was perfect for breakfast as it was not too sweet.

Food for healing

Emily sent a photo of a millet congee, which is a healthy comfort food for those who have no appetite after recovering from an illness or those who have gastric issues. I read up on millet porridge and found out that it is a traditional Chinese healing food.


The season of Advent begins today, which means that Christmas is four weeks away, as symbolized by the four candles.  Advent is a time for penance and healing.

I managed to find fresh pine leaves and eucalyptus leaves at the supermarket for the Advent wreath. The Christmas tree is an evergreen tree, and if you have ever wondered why – it is because it symbolises everlasting life. Most trees lose their leaves in winter and are left bare until spring, but pine trees remain green throughout. It is as if their leaves never die.

Christmas menu

With Christmas four weeks away, I have to start planning my Christmas menu, taking into account tastes, preferences and special diets. Christmas meals are for special for everyone. More thought has to go into meals for those who have special diets.

Home-made Christmas gifts

If you are thinking of Christmas gifts, you might want to make home-made gifts, like Andrea’s knitted scarf.

Sewing Symphonies: The Knitted Scarf

Have a great week ahead.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 27 November 2022

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