best dinner in the world

for years and years, ive been in the kitchen, making and sharing food.  we used to throw a huge party for everyone in nebraska.  somehow, there always was enough food to feed anywhere from two to crowd of fifty.  if i have an hour, i can whip something out decent.  if i have fifteen minute, i can still whip something out decent.  from the empty fridge, i would raid the cupboard to make a dinner, out of 'nothing.'  i would dig things out from friends' fridge, in the depth of 'ooh i dont really know what that is-' into a nice post-drinking nosh.  i will take leap of faith with spices and turn things around to 'mysterious' to 'tasty.' and people asked many times- where did i learn to cook?  well, some knew that i worked at a kitchen- starting from veg prep to the hot fires of the dinner service kitchen.  many know that i like good food and likes to hunt down things in old and new places.  in my heart, however, i know where i have learn it-

my mother's heart.

i remember being super curious about these fast food shops as a child.  people ate things wrapped in papers, carrying out trays. being in korea, the concept of hamburgers and fries were exotic and foreign.  even the great street foods were off-limits. we simply had no real pocket money. but when we returned home, there was always something super nice, made from scratch.  mom was always on it.  one of my favorite things from my childhood is french toast.  eggy mixture with sugar, bread dipped and fried warm and happy.  a dollop of jam on top.  whenever there were company, it was shared around table. always plenty to start with, until- she decide to send the children out to neighbours' houses, carrying piping hot food.  we were specifically instructed to carry back the empty plates so that they'll be free of obligations of sending things in exchange. haha.  not only we had to drool and wait till everyone else had some, the plentiful mountain of food may be just enough to get us going, leaving us wanting a bit more.

mom's cooking always brought much joy to everyone.  then we came to canada and she started to work crazy hours. slowly, she had to leave much home chores to granny and others and till this day, she hardly get the time to make things from scratch.  too much work. always work. work first.  and i moved out. i started to cook for myself.  mom's cooking became something of a specialty from everyday riches.  couple years ago, when she was ticked with me, i casually asked if she could make this dried pollock soup for me and as a joke, she said no. though it wasnt just a joke, she never found the time to make me one that time.  then we forgot about it.  well, i 'forgot' about it, keeping that small 'no' gesture in the corner of my mind, where the small child would go and sulk.

couple days ago, i wrote one of the most difficult letter, ever.  it involved three words: i, love and you.  for mother's day.  last year was a tough one, as gabe just left.  this year, not much better.  as monkey ran around with nutters schedule and mom/dad tending the mad store that always require more work, it was tense.  we couldnt meet up for mother's day and somewhere along the way, the story ended with little selfish girl crying and mom silent with disapproval, on the other side of the phone.  so i thought i would do something i have started many times: to say i love her.

except, i dont think i ever finished one.

except, this year, i did. sent it off.

today, i made a quick visit to home, the first day it's been sane enough to do things that arent essential (ie. music cramming).  and she was in the kitchen. making me dinner.

everyone did eat.  i did eat earlier and didnt have to eat.  she knows that i can always get food later and that traditionally sunday afternoon, my parents' house is quiet, napping after the big sunday lunch.  but not today.

the table was set for one. dad was doing some paper works, granny having tea. mom set that table for me.  just for me. and i saw the card, on the side glance, on top of the dresser. standing. i gave her piece of my heart and there she was, making me a piece of her heart.

i had the best food in the world today.  i wonder i will have the guts to tell her so.  people speak in different languages and gestures.  stiffy family we are, we never ever really said risky words such as love.  but today we werent our usual. we werent vocal, but we did speak.  love. from me, to you.

nourished monkey is grateful. i love you mom.


1 comment:

  1. it's good to be reminded that language is only one way to communicate. dinner for one, set carefully on the table, quietly overlooked by a card on the dresser. both speak their words, silently and eloquently.