Making garlic bread with Cahaya

Cahaya and I like cooking together in the kitchen. Or actually, it is me who likes cooking together with Cahaya. But Cahaya always enjoys our cooking session. I started baking cakes with Cahaya since she was two years old. Perhaps the idea of the comfort baking has grown on her. We often have different ideas of what to cook in the kitchen. Last month, we made garlic bread. This was my idea. I had always wanted to make tear n’ share garlic bread that I saw on Jamie Oliver’s website. I knew Cahaya loves garlic bread. She was enthusiastic when I told her the idea.

Cahaya tried kneading the garlic bread dough. It was probably the fun, and messiest, part of the process.
We had to let the dough to rest for 1 hour. It was a long time to wait, but I told Cahaya that we had to be patient otherwise we would not be able to form the dough into little bread balls. It was great to see the dough slowly raising into a big shape of a balloon.
When the dough was ready, we made 35 little balls, and arranged them on the tray. The recipe involves a large amount of butter and garlic. We needed to grease the tray, then carefully put the balls on it. We put the balls in rows. I like the idea that Cahaya also learnt to do multiplication this way.
The next step was to let the little balls prove again for 1 hour and 30 minutes until it doubled the size. This was my first time making bread-kind of cooking as well. Seeing the dough risen is like magic; the magic mixture of flour, water, and yeast.
We put the dough into the oven for about 30 minutes. They looked golden and smelt delicious.
Cahaya suggested to eat the garlic bread into little sandwiches. We stuffed the sandwich with lettuce, ham, and tomato sauce.

Minum kopi sebagai praktik mencuri waktu jeda bagi perempuan

Nuraini Juliastuti

Setiap kali minum kopi, saya selalu ingat dua hal. Pertama, ngopi adalah budaya baru dalam kehidupan sehari-hari saya. Kedua, kopi dan ngopi adalah materi dan praktik yang dikenalkan oleh Nenek dan Ibu. Sebagai budaya baru, saya selalu memandang minum kopi lebih dari sekedar minum kopi. Ia adalah sesuatu yang lain, yang akhirnya saya perlukan untuk mencapai sesuatu yang lain lagi. Dalam kasus saya, meminum kopi tidak muncul karena kebutuhan jasmani. Awalnya tubuh saya tidak membutuhkan kopi. Kebutuhan akan kopi muncul karena saya membudayakan minum kopi. Makna budaya, mengikuti Raymond Williams, adalah sesuatu yang bisa lahir karena kebiasaan yang dilatihkan dan dilakukan secara terus menerus. Tetapi kopi dan minum kopi juga bagian dari kenangan saya atas Nenek dan Ibu. Ia tinggal kenangan karena mereka berdua sudah tidak ada lagi bersama kita di sini. Minum kopi mungkin juga adalah kebiasaan yang saya tiru dari Nenek dan Ibu. Saya berpikir tentang makna kata ‘kopi’ yang terdengar seperti terjemahan Bahasa Indonesia atas kata Bahasa Inggris ‘copy’ yang berarti meniru. Kopi adalah minuman sehari-hari bagi perempuan-perempuan kuat di kehidupan saya. 

Pandangan saya atas praktik minum kopi sebagai sesuatu yang lebih dari sekedar konsumsi kopi, bercampur dengan kenangan dan bagaimana dua perempuan dalam kehidupan saya tersebut menjalankannya dan memasukkannya dalam keseharian hidup mereka. Selanjutnya, minum kopi menjadi bagian dari amatan dan refleksi atas bagaimana meracik kopi dijalankan di keluarga saya (juga keluarga Andy) dan minum kopi berkembang dan ikut terjalin dalam irama kehidupan yang selalu dinamis.

Saya mulai minum kopi, dan selalu Cappucino, saat melanjutkan S2 di Amsterdam di 2007. Acara minum kopi biasanya selalu disertai dengan berbincang bersama teman, atau mengerjakan tugas-tugas kuliah. Di periode awal pertemuan saya dengan kopi, saya tidak pernah minum kopi di rumah. Ia selalu dilakukan di kafe. Minum kopi identik dengan keluar rumah. Mungkin karena lahir dalam kondisi di perantauan, minum kopi seperti keluar dari paksaan untuk menemukan cara baru dalam bekerja, meninggalkan cara dan ruang lama yang biasa. Pergi ke kafe dan minum kopi adalah cara baru yang secara sengaja saya kembangkan untuk mendapatkan waktu untuk belajar dan menyenangkan diri sendiri. Dalam kasus saya, menyenangkan diri sendiri merupakan identifikasi tepat untuk minum kopi. Ia adalah sesuatu yang rekreasional. Terlebih karena awalnya saya tidak pernah, bahkan tidak pernah terpikir untuk, membuat kopi sendiri.

IMG_20191027_104823
Salah satu suasana minum kopi — minum kopi sambil menemani Cahaya menggambar. 

Meskipun kopi adalah minuman yang biasa di rumah saya, karena ia adalah minuman sehari-hari Nenek dan Ibu, saya tidak pernah tertarik ikut meminumnya. Saat itu rasanya kopi kurang menarik. Mungkin saya terpengaruh dengan tekanan teman sebaya yang umumnya berpendapat bahwa “kopi adalah minuman orang tua”; sesuatu yang ada benarnya mengingat di rumah saya, kopi adalah minuman orang tua. Kecuali bahwa dalam perbincangan anak muda saat itu, kopi dibicarakan sebagai minuman yang biasanya diminum oleh orang tua, dan meminumnya akan beresiko membuat kita tampak tua. 

Minuman yang mewarnai masa remaja dan kuliah adalah coca cola dan es teh tawar. Dalam kepala saya saat itu, minum kopi juga identik dengan minuman para bapak. Ini mungkin adalah pandangan yang salah, tetapi terasa sah, terutama dengan bekal pengalaman menyaksikan bagaimana para tetangga (para bapak) nongkrong di warung kopi di dekan gang rumah tiap pagi, siang, sore, atau malam. Bapak saya, tentu saja, adalah salah satu dari sekian banyak para bapak di kampung dimana saya tumbuh, yang aktif nongkrong di warung depan gang rumah. Betapa anehnya, sekarang baru saya berpikir demikian, bahwa saya tidak pernah merujuk Bapak sebagai seseorang yang punya pengaruh dalam tradisi minum kopi dalam kehidupan saya. Apakah hal ini karena saya tidak pernah melihat Bapak minum kopi di rumah? Untuk sementara saya akan bertahan dengan teori bikinan saya itu. Minum kopi bagi Bapak mungkin adalah praktik yang terhubung dengang nongkrong dan berbincang bersama para tetangga dan sahabat di kampung. Suatu elemen yang nantinya saya adopsi dalam praktik minum kopi dalam kehidupan saya yang dewasa. 

Nenek dan Ibu tidak pernah minum kopi di luar rumah. Peristiwa minum kopi bagi mereka dibatasi oleh ruang domestik — rumah dan ruang-ruang kecil lain didalamnya. Saya mengingat Nenek yang minum kopi di meja kecil dekat dapur, sambil mendengarkan radio yang memutar siaran dangdut dari Radio Rajawali. Saya mengingat Ibu yang minum kopi sambil duduk di lantai ruang tamu, sambil menonton sinetron entah apa di televisi. Keduanya tampak selalu minum kopi sambil mengerjakan sesuatu, disela-sela mengerjakan sesuatu, atau menuju mengerjakan aktivitas lain. Nenek minum kopi sambil melipat aneka plastik belanjaan dalam bentuk segitiga-segitiga kecil, lalu menatanya dengan rapi dalam kotak. Lain waktu ia tampak sedang minum kopi sambil membongkar aneka kotak kardus bekas, melipatnya jadi datar, dan menata di lemari sebagai persediaan jika diperlukan. Ibu selalu minum kopi sambil berkoordinasi tentang aneka kegiatan terkait bisnis katering dengan para pegawai. Sejak memasuki masa pensiun sebagai kepala sekolah di 2009, Ibu memilih fokus dengan mengelola bisnis katering. Ia minum kopi sambil menulis daftar belanjaan panjang dan mengatur pengiriman pesanan makanan ke para pelanggan. Yang paling sering dilakukannya, dan paling sering saya pikirkan saat ini terutama setelah Ibu meninggal, adalah bahwa Ibu minum kopi untuk membuatnya terjaga, tidak tidur, disela-sela membuat pesanan ratusan kue lumpur (dengan kismis dan kelapa diatasnya), bikang, atau semar mendem. 

Satu hal yang saya perhatikan adalah durasi waktu minum kopi mereka tidak pernah terlalu panjang. Minum kopi adalah aktivitas yang selalu berada disela-sela pekerjaan. Ia seperti waktu jeda, yang dalam kasus Nenek dan Ibu, ketersediaannya bergantung dari kemampuan untuk mencurinya, membuatnya ada dalam suatu hari. Lebih jauh dari itu, ia juga bergantung dari kemampuan untuk mengusahakan asupan kopi tersedia. Dengan alasan praktis, mengingat Ibu adalah seseorang yang efisien, ia selalu membeli kopi sachet dari warung atau supermarket. Ia paham bahwa kopi yang dibelinya mungkin kurang otentik. Tapi Ibu, seperti kebanyakan perempuan lain yang bekerja, selalu merasa kekurangan waktu. Menyeduh kopi sachet adalah jawaban untuk keinginan minum kopi disela kesibukan. Nenek selalu membuat kopi sendiri. Ia punya racikan kopi khusus dengan campuran irisan kelapa tua. Suatu hari nanti saya akan meniru racikan kopinya di rumah. Salah satu bayangan kenangan saya atas Nenek adalah punggungnya yang membelakangi saya, menumbuk kopi dengan tekun di dapur rumah kami yang sempit. 

Bertahun-tahun kemudian, di ruang tunggu kelas balet dan gimnastik di area Kew, Melbourne, saya duduk bersama para orang tua lain yang sedang menunggu anak-anak kami berlatih. Saya mendengar percakapan dua orang perempuan tentang minum kopi. Mereka asyik berbincang sambil minum kopi. Anak-anak mereka yang tidak ikut kelas balet sedang bermain diantara kaki-kaki mereka. Keduanya mempunyai tiga anak. Mereka berbicara tentang bagaimana mereka menantikan waktu bekerja mereka — mereka bekerja sehari sekali dalam seminggu — dan terutama waktu untuk minum kopi. Bekerja sehari seminggu, juga ngopi, semacam pelepasan sesaat, waktu jeda dari kesibukan mengurus anak dan urusan rumah. Saya terus mengingat apa yang dibicarakan kedua perempuan ini. Tiap kali mengingatnya, saya ingat kembali adegan Ibu minum kopi di depan layar televisi, sambil berpikir, dan menulis catatan, juga punggung Nenek yang membungkuk, menumbuk kopi di dapur. 

Picnic scenes (1)

Among thousands of pictures and photographs about picnic or picnicking collected by State Library of Victoria, there is a series of photos that interest me. The series was titled “Picnic Scenes,” and it is categorised under Rural Water Corporation collection. It consists of 23 photos; this writing analyses the first five photos of the series. The whole set was created by Victoria State of Rivers and Water Supply Commission Photographer.

There is no further explanation to the location of the photos, except an indication that they all took place in Victoria. But this makes the series intriguing for me. I like the uncertainty feels brought about by the series. It means I can imagine the location in accord with my knowledge of Victorian landscape. I should say it ‘the locations’ as it seems that the photos were taken in more than one place. There is a bush, a river, and a hilly scape. It can be Yarra Bend Park, or Flinders Beach. Most likely the locations were in places that I have never been into before.

Another point which I like about not knowing the exact location of the place in the pictures is because I can imagine the resourcefulness of a place, and not being confined within the popularity of a certain picnic spot. It reminds me of finding old photos in flea market; each photo would make us speculating about the people, the places, and the activities captured. What makes a place picnic spot? Perhaps a place regarded a potential picnic spot if there was a nice view to look at while enjoying picnic spread, or to take a collective photo at the end of the picnic. A place would be a perfect picnic spot when it has appropriate infrastructure to support picnic activities.

picnic scenes 2
A woman and three men by the river

picnic scenes 3
Three women and picnic food spread

picnic scenes 1
Two women washing cups

picnic scenes 5
A group of women took a souvenir photo–probably before leaving the picnic area

 

Public barbecue equipment: A note on generosity

We like going to a park. We went to a park for various reasons. A park is a place for Cahaya to play in the playground. It is common to see benches and tables; they are comfortable to sit and eat on properly. Children could play around the park, while parents supervise, and perhaps prepare food on the table. A park is a place for slowing down a bit, relaxing, enjoying the environment, and eating something–to make the relaxing situation more pleasurable.

In many parks or some open spaces here, there are barbecue equipments that are available to public use. To provide a barbecue gear in open spaces is such a thoughtful idea; so it was my first thought of the existence of this tool. We can do a picnic, and eating barbecued meats or veggies at the same time. The fact that they are available for public use opens up a possibility to talk about it as a sign of generosity. It is quite a generous act to provide barbecue grill equipments for free in many parts of the city.

Often I saw these barbecue tools were just standing idle. They seemed to be waiting for someone, a family, or a group of people, to cook something on them. So far I have never seen anyone using them outside the scope of picnic or barbecue activities. I always see them being used within picnic or barbecue activities. A public barbecue grill is functioned within familial and communal environment. It is a cooking tool for sharing with others in the park. The food cooked in the grill would be eaten together. A public barbecue grill is a friendly public equipment.

Barbecue in Wattle Park
A barbecue equipment in Wattle Park

To see the idleness of the barbecue tools in the park makes me wondering whether it would be considered appropriate to cook on them outside picnic activities. Would it be considered appropriate if someone cook in the park in early morning (for cooking breakfast) or in the afternoon (for cooking dinner)? Perhaps there were people who had tried to do that.

 

 

 

Arisan revisited: Notes on precariousness (2)

Frictions

As a savings association to base on mutual help principle, the operationalization scope of arisanis limited to small groups in which the members know each other. Researches on arisan confirm the condition that it would not occur in a group where the members are unfamiliar to each other. The meaning of mutual help is restricted and not inclusive. What criteria for someone to be considered and invited as an arisan member? Inclusion and exclusion are two factors to govern the existence of arisan. It points to the limit of the common aspect of a community-based alternative financial group.

According to Erik Bähre, when writing about ROSCA in a South African township, ‘helping each other’, in many contexts, is often not compatible with ‘taking care of oneself’–“ ‘helping each other’ centered on sharing, while ‘taking care of oneself’ valued accumulation.”[11] The politics of everyday life is composed of countless moments where one has to make, again Bähre, “precarious choices” concerning when to help the others and to take care of personal safety. When helping each other and taking care of oneself collides, it results in frictions and episodes of what Bähre coined as “reluctant solidarity”.[12]

Precariousness

Difficult times often come unexpectedly. It causes precarious feeling. Not everyone has an advantage of being in a position where the availability of resources is abundant, or having a wealthy network to hold on. And nothing can be more dreadful than having debt bondage. The fear for debt is strong. Credit and debt have a long history in Southeast Asia. They informed social structures in many levels.[13] It tells about the power of the creditor and the limitation of the debtor. Arisan emerges as a support institution that derives from the familial realm. At once it is a mechanism with the certainty that each person would be able to support his or her own needs.

Arisan is often considered a typical ibu-ibu, or woman’s practice. Plenty of research suggests it is not a gendered practice. To locate arisan in the everyday domain of women provides space to examine the use of arisan and imagination of precariousness within the inter-relational framework of the wife, the husband, and the family. Hanna Papanek and Laurel Schwede read arisan as part of a woman’s strategy to help deal with economic stress of the family. Further, they see it as part of the conscious decision of a woman to actively engage in earning and managing in the family.[14] It signifies a degree of independency. The husband, the children, or other members of the family usually do not put serious attention to arisan. Such attitude stems from a perspective of the practice as woman’s practice. It has made arisan a special locus to lend freedom in managing the fund obtained.

A woman and mother, in Papanek and Schwede’s research, found many reasons to participate in arisan and to think about how to make and save more money for her family. Throughout time women have been affected by different kinds of uncertainty—the inflation of the 1950s and 1960s, the Japanese occupation, the fear of hunger, the fight for independence from the Dutch—experiences, which shaped childhood and disrupted schooling.[15] Each woman might have different reason, which encourage her to join an arisan. My mother always thinks about her desires for having enough money for my sisters’ family and myself. The purpose of the money does not need to be specific. What is important is there is enough money to be used when the needs call. My older sister always thinks about money to fund the education needs of her children.

Keep going

There have been attempts at modifying the structure of arisan. In a recent conversation with a friend, I was told that she participated in anarisan, in which three persons would get the money in one ‘pull’ (narik). It reduces the amount of money received, since the lump sum fund needs to be divided into three. At least, it is certain that fresh cash will be at hand on a scheduled time. There are many factors to ignite precariousness. Hence the feeling seems to be persistent. This is a factor to maintain the relevancy of arisanArisan is a known practice emerged as cultural reference to approach uncertainty. It is an attempt to come to grips with difficult situation. It shows the will to find something to hold on, and to endure.

[11] Bahre, Money and Violence: Financial Self-Help Groups in a South African Township, 90.

[12] Bahre, ibid., 99.

[13] Henley, “Credit and Debt in Indonesian History: Introduction”.

[14] Papanek and Schwede, “Women are Good with Money: Earning and Managing in an Indonesian City”.

[15] Papanek and Schwede, ibid., WS-77.

References

Bahre, Erik. 2007. Money and Violence: Financial Self-Help Groups in a South African Township. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Geertz, Clifford. 1962. “The Rotating Credit Association: A Middle Rung in Development.”Economic Development and Cultural Change 10, no.3: 241-263.

Henley, David. 2009. “Credit and Debt in Indonesian History: An Introduction”, in Henley and Boomgaard (eds.), Credit and Debt in Indonesia, 860 – 1930: From Peonage to Pawnshop, From Kongsi to Cooperative, 1-40.

Hope, Kempe Ronald Sr. 1993. “Growth and Impact of the Subterranean Economy in the Third World.” Futures October: 864-876.

Miguel, Edward, Paul Gertler, and David I. Levine. 2006. “Does Industrialization Build or Destroy Social Networks?” Economic Development and Cultural Change 54, no.2: 287-317.

Newberry, Jan. 2007. “Rituals of Rule in the Administered Community: The Javanese Selametan Reconsidered.” Modern Asian Studies 41, no.6: 1295-1329.

Papanek, Hanna., and Laurel Schwede. 1988. “Women are Good with Money: Earning and Managing in an Indonesian City.” Economic and Political Weekly 23, no.44: WS-73-WS-84.

Shanmugam, Bala. 1991. “Socio-Economic Development Through the Informal Credit Market.” Modern Asian Studies 25, no.2: 209-225.