A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that a lot of soy sauce has accumulated in my kitchen during the course of my cooking adventures. On counting the bottles, I discovered that I have no fewer than seven different types: regular shoyu (Japan), usukuchi shoyu (Japan), tamari (Japan), light soy (China), mushroom soy (China), mushroom-flavored soy (Thailand) and kecap manis (Indonesia). Not as many as the 17 kinds of tea from a previous culinary counting exercise, but many more than most people need to have around the house.
You might have figured out that I enjoy cooking Asian food. I have loved Japanese food since childhood and once I got my own place, I decided to try making it myself. But a funny thing happened. Through the influence of some terrific cookbooks and a move to a location where my nearest market is a well-stocked Asian supermarket, I began to drift a bit. I edged out to Chinese and Korean dishes, then started to include the odd Thai, Malaysian and Burmese meal. Now I find myself about to stick a toe into the great ocean of Indian food. The way I figure it, I'm working my way around the culinary world one meal at a time.
I'm not a gourmet. I'm not an expert. I just like learning new things. Cooking has turned into a great way to learn. I didn't expect it to work out this way, but I'm happy it did.