Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Crazy Cravings

CRAVINGS during pregnancy is something I have long forgotten and banished to the dusty archives of my mind.
But it came hurtling back recently when I met an elegantly pregnant woman who had travelled all the way from a far-flung corner of the British Isle, in search of cincaluk.
Yes, cincaluk. To have a craving is something, but to have a craving for something that is almost impossible to get, is another thing altogether.
Before venturing out to London where Oriental supermarkets store almost everything on their chaotic shelves, she had sent me a message to point her in the direction of the coveted item.
I, the least adventurous person where food is concerned, could only point her in the direction of Chinatown, to which she dutifully went with hopes of bringing cincaluk back to grace her dinner table. Alas, after going in and out of several shops there, she had to leave empty-handed and disappointed.
She had been disappointed once before when all the postman delivered to her front door was a letter from the Customs to say that they had confiscated the bottle of precious cincaluk that her mother attempted to post.
But she wasn’t about to give up, or rather her hormones dictated that the normally intelligent and reasonable person with a pretty sensible head properly screwed onto her shoulders, shouldn’t give up.
These hormones can make a Jekyll and Hyde out of the most placid person on earth. They can change tastebuds overnight, making a meat-loving person into a vegetarian and cause a normally diet-conscious person to throw caution to the wind and eat stuff that she would usually throw out the window. They can reduce a professional and tough decision-maker into a weeping wreck or a monster just because she can’t get what she craves for.
I could certainly identify with these people. During my first pregnancy, I cried buckets because I couldn’t get the correct mee goreng mamak — correct being the way it was cooked by the mamak pushing his cart at exactly 5pm along Light Street in Penang.
I sulked throughout the night just because my husband mentioned salt beef and chopped liver and there was no way he could pacify me because it was already midnight. He watched helplessly as I sat crying before a container full of prawn sambal that was flown in all the way from that a particular stall in Kampung Baru, KL, but had gone off during the 12-hour flight.
During another pregnancy, attempting to make the keropok that I was craving for, he gallantly rolled up his sleeves for the culinary feat, only for it to turn out to be keropok lekor, which I totally disliked. Why couldn’t I just crave for asam boi or some pickle that could be easily obtained from Chinatown?

Sure, there have been studies to suggest that the body craves what the body lacks but why does this render one to be almost obsessive especially in the quest for the forbidden?
A friend knew what coffee beans would do to her and the baby in the womb, but throughout two pregnancies, she chewed handfuls of coffee beans as she would peanuts.
One baby turned out to be hyperactive and the other had a skin allergy although this was not conclusively linked to the coffee beans.
My eldest sister pined for duck hanging on the rack in a non-halal restaurant. All she wanted was a bite of the meat dripping with fat. This is nothing compared to the woman who ate charcoal and another who chewed pencils.
Looking at some studies carried out in attempts to explain why women had different foods cravings, I came across one conducted in Sri Lanka and published in the Indian Journal Of Public Health. A total of 1,000 women took part in the study which noted that “pregnancy cravings were significantly higher in women who married after a love affair than in those who had an arranged marriage” as well as in “women who were superstitious (e.g. believed in devil dancing) than in those who were not.”
Considering how inconsiderate and ridiculous some of the demands made on the helpless husbands are, I am inclined to support the finding linking love marriages to pregnancy cravings.
What else can explain the long journey into London and the futile search for cincaluk?


This piece was first published here.

Kak Teh's other Obsessions:
Obsessions

Picture from Connie Martin's.








51 comments:

snn71 said...

Hi kak teh
so susah to leave a comment on your blog now! but finally went through whole palaver of creating a google account just so I can. the only thing I craved when I was pregnant was pizza, for about 2 weeks. my husband said it was proof the baby was half norwegian, as pizza is the favourite national dish! During my last pregnancy i didnt crave anything but 'went off' cumin big time- sampai once, my husband was cooking with it and the smell upset me so much I started crying!

Typhoon Sue said...

i'm not pregnant, yet I'm having this cravings for durian udang merah. saw those at jusco last night but didn't buy, and now for some reason i keep thinking about it, wanting it, longing for it, salivating at the thought of it.....
so how?

melayudilondon said...

Alah kesian. Kedai Tung Hing takde ke kak? I am craving for rojak and managed to secure petis from kedai Chris after Chinatown failed me.

NanaDJ said...

Kak Teh,
The poor thing. Actually cincaluk is quite easy to make (shrimps, salt and 'air tanak nasi',mix together and let it ferment) unfortunately the small shrimps are hard to come buy and any other shrimps won't do. I dare not take it on the plane lest it explode.Budu is easier, it can be substitued with anchovy sauce.
I don't know hoe to mengidam because CD is not the type to layan such things, so no fun if I want to mengidam.

Kak Teh said...

snn71, ya, now spammers have made it more difficult for us. So, we do have to have all these...er ..palaver of google account etc. never mind, you are here now. So, its pizza, eh? I craved for cheese a who year round - cheese roll, cheese cake,cheese biscuits, anything with cheese! And yes, i was put off by the smell of curry cooking, must be the cumin as well.

kay_leeda said...

Yes, it's the hormones. I couldn't mengidam anything during my pregnancy coz most of the time, stuffs I ate came out again.

Cincaluk huh?? Boy , that's tough. Hope your friend is able to get it before she delivers. Kalu tak kesian lah baby, sure meleleh air lur (people's believe lah...true our not, tak tau lerr)

Naz said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Believe it or not I survived on ice lollies for the first trimester for my eldest. T bought enough every week that people thought we were opening our own minishop!

Kak Teh said...

sue, jusco bukak tengah malam tak just go and get it. Kalau tidak bangun pagi basah bantal.

melayu di london, i think kita bolehlh buat project rojak> let's do it this weekend

Kak Teh said...

NanaDJ, i think in her condition, trying to make it will put her off eating it. I remember craving for sambal tumis udang and when I tried making it myself, I was put off by the smell and more tears ,of course.

Kay, ya, there is a belief that kalau mak kempunan anak nanti dok meleleh air liork.

Kak Teh said...

Naz, bless T! I had loads of chocolates supplied - even right up to the labour room. We were sharing a bar of Galaxy, inbetween contactions!

mekyam said...

cerita pasal craving ni, teringat pulak yang dalam our malay annals, mengidam could prove to be quite fatal. with lasting repercussions pulak tu.

remember dang anum who craved for sultan mahmud shah's nangka? ;D

tak cukup kena bunuh, 7 keturunan laksamana bentan disumpah takleh pijak kaki di kota tinggi. sheesh!

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty KT,
We are craving for your pie tee....purrr...meow!

Pi Bani said...

Suruh dia balik Malaysia je lah, pulun cincaluk puas-puas, lepaih tu baru balik sana...

Aida said...

Kak Teh,

Goodness gracious, to find oneself craving for something which is hard to attain sure rasa macam mau scream sambil golek-2.....

I was lucky that being in Malaysia, all that I craved for I can get so easily. However, what was bad that I found myself put off by the lightest bit of smell... smell of air panas pun tak tahan.... like u I cried for no reason but thank goodness I have a very patient man with me.

Kalau tau awal-2 sure I boleh kirim to a friend who is there for a holiday. Cincaluk is something to be hand-carried hahahaha very precious.

Desert Rose said...

Alahmadullilah, I never craved for benda yg aneh2 n susah nak dapat but I hooked up on one thing frm the 2nd trimester until branak (coz during early pregnancy tak ketahuan siang ka malam, asyik mabuk saja, mcm drunkard pun ada)during my eldest, i got to have teh ais mamak, pastu anak keluaq keruh ja mcm teh ais la jugak, second one milo ais plak dah, so lagi la kelabu serupa milo ais gak la, nasib baik la yg no.3 up sikit taste bud tu, nak carrot susu , so cerah la sikit he he...seb baik cincaluk kak teh kalau nak kijang putih berbelang kaki yg dipanah dengan busur perak????? pengsannnn

Zendra-Maria said...

Kak Teh, yang sungguh aneh whenever I was pregnant it was hubby yang suka sangat assamboi :) I should thank him for taking away pregnancy cravings from me - if only he had shared half the labour pains too.

Kak Teh said...

mekyam, yes, thanks for reminding me. Sungguh kejam! But padan muka sebab selepas tu disumpah tujuh keturunan!

CIS, can cats eat pie tee? I will make some with pigeons as fillings!

Kak Teh said...

pi bani, balik malaysia sampai-sampai tak boleh makan pulak! hormones pregnancy ni bukannya boleh percaya sangat.very temperamental.

Aida, i too couldnt stand the smell of rice cooking, curry. Tapi nasib baik terhad pada curry and rice saja A friend of ind couldnt stand the smell of her husand and not only that couldnt stand the sight of his forehead! strange! but true.

Kak Teh said...

DR, haha, nasib baik you tak mengidam sirap bandung or sirap muar! or worse still cendol! macam2 colour jadinya.

zendra, how nice of your husband to have cravings for you. Yes, if only they can feel the pain as well. Mine promised to be the one to give birth after seeing how painful it was for me the first time. Yeah, right! I was back in the labour room for the next three - tu tak kira miscarriage lagi.

tireless mom said...

Guess if I kirim thru my friend who is going to London, the cencaluk will also be confiscated eh?

Craving in London may not be as bad as craving in Finland. My friend in Finland craved for serawa. Tak jumpa lagi durian.

Lyana Mauseth said...

kak teh,

i pernah baca cerita this one lady lari dr umah sbb dia mengidam ikan bakar and the husband sibuk tak dan nak pi beli..last2 dia bungkuih baju lari dr umah...tgh jalan terserempak dgn husband dia..lucky time tu ikan bakar dok standby dah dlm kreta...so balik lah dia hehe...

alhamdulilah i xda la craving apa2..cuma tak lalu makan except for kangkung goreng belacan dgn tomyam...tiap hari...abah i sampai malu nak pi beli, dia rotate semua kedai siam kat area tu haha..nasib baik i tak kisah kedai mana, janji kangkung dgn tomyam...

lagi satu i suka bau wangi sabun, detergent, sabun basuh pinggan, pewangi toilet etc....masa pregnant, i rajin gila basuh pinggan...dishwasher tak guna sbb i nak bau sabun...so result, now bila i basuh pinggan, odin akan mai amik bau sabun tu!! dia pun suka! yg paling best tu, pewangi toilet, pak usop heran sbb dia asyik kena beli refil saja so dia ingat ank2 dia main2 tekan so dia pun marahlah bdk2 tu...pastu i dgn rasa tak bersalahnya kata...i yg tekan2 wangi tu sbb i suka...hehe sian bdk2 tu kena marah tak pasal2 kan....

pakmat said...

..I am not pregnant, either..but I noticed that before a wife knew she was pregnant, I got the craving pangs first..usually mangga muda taken with soya sauce mixed with belacan, sugar, salt and chillies..other days I hate the stuff..it has been sometimes since I had this cravings..:)khmm..must be getting really old...cheers

Siti Roffini said...

Salam,
Tak boleh nak comment sangat pasal all these cravings sebab tak pernah pregnant. Is it too late for me?

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Zah, like Pakmat, I’m not pregnant either, but I guess it must be fun having all those craving to give all the hubbies a hard time running around like headless chooks looking for them!!! U sure u ladies didn’t make all these up just to get even with the hubby for not carrying the baby for 9 months?.....kakaka.

Cheers,

Tommy

P/S – Has AG cut the grass yet or is he still in his creative dreamland mode??

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Came to know about your blog from my wife, Siti Roffini. Found your articles very interesting. If you're interested in some of the untold stories from the view point of a Nuri pilot during the nation's fight against the communist terrorists, please feel free to read my blog - xnuripilot.blogspot.com.

Thank you.

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kesian kawan you Kak Teh. I hope she has somehow found the cencaluk or at least will get satisfied with some other food.

@Lyana, betul ke story tu? biar betul wife lari sbb kempunan! lol.

Justiffa said...

Alhamdulillah no funny cravings for me.. tp during my second pregnancy i had this really funny, unexplainable aversion - i just couldnt stand the sight of my pinkish pinggan mangkuk (ala, jenis set arcopal clear glass zaman dolu2 tu lol)!! kalau ternampak mesti nak muntah. really crazeee la what unstable hormones can do hehehe :D

Ailin in Stockholm said...

Kak Teh, Imad said that I am the easiest pregnant woman in the world. Both times.

Anyways, I will be in London middle of next month. Do you have time?

3yearshousewife said...

Alhamdullilah me myself for all pregnancies the cravings are ordinary dishes. Bezanya dish malaysia or western.
I remembered when my SIL craved for buah bidara. My mom asked me to go to Tanjung Bidara to find for the buah. Even the locals don't even know what buah bidara looked like, haiya....My mom were asking favours from friends up & down the country and finally got a few young buah bidara from Thailand from her besan in KB. Tu lah cinta punya pasal...

Kak Teh said...

TM craving for serawa is okay sebab boleh buat dengan pisang, tapi kalau serawa durian, oh dear!

Lyana, nasib baik your story has a happy ending. Masa mengandung and mengidam memang tahap merajuk ni sangatlah tinggi, sikit2 merajuk. Kalau pikiark balik, meluat sungguh!

Kak Teh said...

Pak Mat, I dont think in certain aspects man age. Next time you have cravings, beware! hehe!

Siti, miracles do happen!

Kak Teh said...

Tommy Yew, we in sisterhood conspire in various ways, and in motherhood, there's no limit.
AG and his grass, oh well, he is stil contemplating the weed circle looking for inspirations. I wont say anything more as he is bound to ask me to cut it.

Major, thanks for the visit. I went to your blog and it is very interesting indeed. I interviewed a relative of the Dakota 8 helicopter crash 50 years ago.

Kak Teh said...

Farina, she is hoping her mum will bring it in time sebelum she gives birth.

Justiffa, wow ! that is another side to pregnancy cravings...my friend couldnt stand the sight of her husband's forehead!

Kak Teh said...

ailin, of course I will be here - althoughbusy with this and that but will have time for you...but i hope it will not e on 25th and 26th, okay?

3yrshousewife, wah, buah bidara dari Thaland...tak apa asalkan dapat. Thank God, I dah tutup kilang!

Mr Lonely said...

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Life for Beginners said...

I'm not pregnant but I have cravings for cincaluk all the time. But then again, I'm Malaccan so that might explain something.. :P

Temuk said...

Salam Kak Teh
If a husband is not able to meet the cravings of his pregnant wife, he could probably tell her that what she is craving for is a taboo. So, kenalah pantang dari benda tu! That was the tip given by one Jururawat Desa when I conducted a small research on traditional midwifery services in Perak 30 years or so ago. She was unhappy that at that time many rural mothers 'berpantang makan vitamin' given by the Klinik Desa!

Kak Teh said...

Mr lonely, thanks for the visit.

Kenny dear,i cant for the life of me eat cincaluk. I stay away from fish if i have other things to eat - as i dont like the fishy aftertaste in the mouth. Yes, i know i am missing on a lot of things.

Kak Teh said...

Tenuk, that's a very important piece of information. I wonder what studies years later revealed. But i think it is very cruel to deny a pregnant woman some thing she craves. Non pregnant people just dont understand the feeling. they need to be pregnant to know it.

Temuk said...

Salam Kak Teh
Sorry, singgah lagi. Just to tell you that that Jururawat Desa was just joking, actually. She was well known to be a very, very strict JD, but very kind. I remember that we discussed a lot about pantang larang, traditional beliefs related to pregnancy & childbirth and nutritional deficiencies among pregnant mothers. When the study was done (1981) more than half of the mothers in the study area were still attended by the traditional midwives when they delivered their babies. The JD being a Malay herself was certainly sensitive to the need to give psychological comfort to pregnant mothers, hence the importance of fulfilling, among other things, the cravings of these mothers, if they had any, lest they'd be kempunan. Seronok dengar radio Kak Teh dgn lagu-lagu lama tu. Bila ziarahi Bangi?

chemal said...

kak teh, saya pernah jumpa cincaluk di kedai thai di Chepstow road. Tapi yang tu setahun lepaih dah lah! xtahu masih juai ka dak la ni.

-jawa london-

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - We have cincaluk in Tasmania! :)

Kak Teh said...

Temuk, thanks for coming back with more stories. I am sure, the JDs were very much a part of the family for most people. and my permintaan programme? well, u know what? today in paris, i met one of malaysia's golden voice who used to do permintaan programmes; constance haslam. will blog abt her one day.

Kak Teh said...

Chemal, i thought there might be some at Tawanna. should have gone there. thanks.

Tunku Halim, now i know where to go if I get the craving. BUT, I'd be very, very scared and surprised if i ever crave for anything again. hehe!

wonda said...

Kak Teh,
Thanks for putting your articles up on the sidebar of your blog. Now I can enjoy reading them without hours of searching NST or googling it. NST should revamp its website. I wonder if Malaysia has signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is another problem faced by Japan because the PM has not consented to it.

Talking about cravings, I just had improvised Mee Jawa last week and Mee Goreng for today's lunch. Noodles here are so thin, so I substituted with spaghetti!

AK47 said...

Salam Aunty Z,

Enjoyed this entry and comments. Yup, the pregnancy hormones are just amazing. For me, my senses, especially the taste bud and smell, became so alive. Smell of the office air freshener & poor hubby's perfume were a no no. At one point, I could even smell the neigbour's detergent. That sharp!!

Ainun

欣穎啟佐 said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...lucky that i'm not pregnant...hehehhee...just craved the grilled sardines that i missed in Lisbon, but straight to the market to get some sardine to grill when i arrived to ncl two days ago...hehehehe...

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

zu said...

a male officemate monyok dtg office one day.

"mlm tadi, ina nak satay pukul 1 pagi. boleh tengah tidur tu dia terjaga & suruh beli time tu gak"

naik motor berpusing mencari. mujur jumpa. dah nak close dah tapi paksa bakarkan 50. 25 ayam 25 daging.

sampai rumah nak dekat kul 2.30 pagi. kejutkan dia utk makan.

tau dia kata apa?

"taknak lah.. org nak tadi, sekarang taknak dah"

wallaweiiii.. rasa nak lempang pun ada... dia kata.

hik.

~mia~

Jane said...

hi aunty.

i dont think u know me but im pretty sure u know my dad who flies frequently to london- captain zaki. he's a good friend of tok din's. all this while ive been a silent reader but today i had a lot of time on my hands (read- procrastinating from doing my job) and i went thru your archives and found the one you wrote about you mother- memories of an absent daughter. i was crying and sniffling like a lunatic at my desk! it made me want to hug my own mom tight n appologise for all my misdoings!!

i love ur blog. please continue writing the way u do. its a real inspiration to the younger generation like me. maybe we'll meet sumday if i ever smpai london again!

huggs from malaysia!