“Practice makes perfect”, my father loved to tell us kids when we were growing up.
It is possibly his favorite quote – among others such as “save money for a rainy day” – and somehow, he managed to apply it in so many occasions and memories in my childhood.
I remember that we were learning how to ride our bicycles (after doing the huge transition and ditching our tricycles), and I was tired of falling off the two-wheeled monster and getting scrapes all over my knees. We were probably in our backyard, and even though falling on grass was so much better than falling on harsh concrete, I was still getting fed up.
I wanted to give up. I wanted to throw away the bicycle that suddenly became an instrument of torture. I even made faces and complained to my dad that I was already sick and tired of riding a bike, after just one afternoon of practice.
So my dad decided to throw in his fabulous all-applicable quote.
“You cannot give up. Practice makes perfect! Keep on practicing!”
I think I threw a fit there and then, but because when you’re about 5 years old, an advice-giving parent like my dad seems more difficult to avoid than a stationary bicycle, I crawled back on my bike, and kept right on practicing. Somehow, sometime that day, or maybe a few afternoons later, I eventually got the hang of riding a bicycle. A miracle. Or maybe, practice really makes perfect.
As with riding our bikes, my dad was also an expert in giving us the same piece of advice when it came to our homework. Especially in math and science, and whenever we scored lousy marks on our tests, we’d get the same three words over and over again – “practice makes perfect!”
When you’re a teenager and practicing math problem sums meant long hours of tedious studying and lesser hours of relaxation, that piece of advice wasn’t the most welcome. Yet, while I didn’t understand why my dad was so insistent on dishing out that same advice for so many aspects of life, I somehow followed it.
What I didn’t know then, but I do know now, is that it was an invaluable three-word line of wisdom. Throughout the many years of sticking to these words, I’ve learned the importance of resilience and persistence. And I also learned that, if you keep doing something over and over again, you’ll eventually get better at it. Yes, even if you weren’t born with any talent in that field, whatsoever.
I like knowing that sheer work and continuous attempts at something that you really want to succeed in will bear its fruits. And in case you didn’t know that yet, I’d like to pass on my dad’s advice – “practice makes perfect!”
That’s probably the reason why I keep on writing, even when I’m exhausted and have muscle aches after a long week of work; or when I’m suffering from writer’s block; or when I’m just not in the mood to write.
I keep on writing because I want to improve, and I’m betting that for each time and every ounce of effort I put into practicing my writing, I’ll get better and better, slowly but surely.
In honor of Father’s Day, I’m dedicating this recipe to my dad. Why ginger shrimp fried rice, you ask? Well, that’s easy. Fried rice is the one dish that I can say I’ve perfected because I’ve made it many times that I can practically cook it with my eyes closed. And I love this ginger shrimp variation that has so much depth and flavor.
So thank you Daddy for your amazing advice, for pushing us to keep on going, for showing us by example that we can’t just give up so easily in the things that we want to achieve.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! I LOVE YOU!
GINGER SHRIMP FRIED RICE
1) 4 espresso cups of uncooked short-grain sushi rice
2) 1/2 kg of raw peeled shrimp
3) 1 large onion, peeled and diced
4) 2 garlic cloves, minced
5) 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
6) 4 eggs, beaten
7) 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
8) Salt to taste
9) 1/2 cup of chopped fresh spring onions + more for garnish
10) 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds for garnish
1) Cook rice according to package instructions
2) In a saucepan, cook an omelet with the beaten eggs and a little oil over medium-low heat, and then cut the omelet into very small pieces. Set aside.
3) In the same saucepan, saute the shrimp with a little oil until cooked throughout, flipping to the other side once the bottom is cooked. Set aside.
4) Stir-fry the minced garlic, grated ginger and diced onions in some oil in a wok over medium heat, until onions turn translucent.
5) Add in the cooked rice, and stir well, then pour soy sauce over and stir some more.
6) Add in the cooked eggs, shrimp, and 1/2 cup of chopped spring onions. Mix all together. Add salt to taste.
7) Serve piping hot and garnished with remaining fresh spring onions and sesame seeds.