Truth is I sometimes miss my mom’s cooking more than her.
Having the food mom makes means being at home. A lot of happy memories of my childhood are food related. The fridge was always full when I opened it after school. If not, there was very often a pot of stew on the stove. There were numerous times that I tried to open the very hot lid just to get a big spoon of stew out of it. The scariest part was not the heat but my mom’s voice from my back, "What are you doing? It’s not ready yet!" A few times, I dropped the spoon and burned my fingers.
However, I didn’t get that feeling last time we were in Taiwan. Mom had to stay in the hospital for a surgery for a few days. When it was around dinner time, I sensed a different atmosphere. The kitchen was quiet, and there was nothing on the dining table.
I felt homesick at my parents’. How could this be? I was struggling with the idea that I was too old to whine about having to make myself food; and was wondering if I would be able to bring the same taste out of this kitchen for my family. I swallowed partly because I was hungry and partly because I found the fact hard to digest.
It might have started when I was in my late twenties, Dad liked to say this to me when we were having family dinner, "Do you know how to make this dish? You should really ask your mom to teach you." Every time, I was too busy eating and didn’t really take his words seriously.
Back then, I thought I was smart. There were apparently two ways to enjoy delicious food. One would be to learn how to cook it myself. The other would be to give mom a call and tell her when I would be home. Absolutely not a tough decision to make.
And now? You won’t believe how many times I have called my mom for her recipes, and complained that I couldn’t get that one or two ingredients here. What’s more, it was a long working day for hubby; he looked extremely content while seeing "drunken chicken soup" on the table. Out of my expectation, I heard, "Mmm… Very nice, but, it doesn’t taste exactly like the one your mom makes…."
His voice sounded muffled for a minute or so, and my dad’s words were ringing in my ears all of a sudden. Well, I thought I was smart back then.
Two months ago, our baby started exploring different food cultures. My Taiwanese friends gave advice about rice porridges, and the Dutch friends talked about slowly switching to potatoes and bread. Personally I would be more than happy as long as he is not a picky eater. People say if you want your baby to eat broccoli, eat yours during pregnancy. Since I ate mine, you have probably pictured that I made some pureed vegetables in the fridge for this week. Let’s find out if this is going to be a fair game.
By the way, I already have the training ‘how to use chopsticks’ ready. Somehow they reminded me of the dinner time when I was little. My brother and I liked to have a chopsticks competition every once in a while. It would undoubtedly sound like a great fun to our son and his younger sibling(s) in the near future. Oops, did I leak any information by accident?