My mum was an amazing person - the best mum anyone could ask for... She passed away in March 2004, but she continues to be a shining light and an inspiration in my life.
Other than her love for her family, my mum's passion in life lay with cooking and with food. A chef by trade, cooking went beyond simply being a job for her... Cooking and food was a way of feeding and satifying hungry tummies... but it was also the foundation of our family home. She was always collecting recipes... loved watching random cooking shows on TV... She "collected" (perhaps a more accurate term would be "hoarded") spices and condiments like they were going out of fashion and she had possibly every kitchen gadget/utensil you could imagine. She could cook anything... from classic Vietnamese dishes, to South-East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Indian Cookery to European classics and cakes... Nothing was beyond her. And although she could pull out the professional finish to any meal with hand carved roses made from carrots and radishes ... most of the time, food for us was about being homely, simple and delicious... and most importantly sharing and expressing love.
My mum was a big believer in learning and sharing in the kitchen... and each of us kids always had a role to play... whether it was my youngest brother peeling carrots, my younger sister washing lettuce or me throwing stuff together in a wok... we all had an important role to play in preparing a meal. My mum was also a great believer in "building character"... and thus subjected all of us to many long tedious hours of bulk preparing and preserving some kind of food. It varied from year to year... One year we would be making tomato pasta sauce... another year it would be dried apricots... The next would be tomato sauce and jam... Regardless these tasks would inevitably involve some kind of laborious task of peeling/de-seeding/chopping some kind of fruit/vegetable to be made into some wonderful concoction to be used during the coming year... and although at the time we complained about spending our summer holidays doing some mundane cooking related task, I now look back on those times with a wonderful pleasure... of simple times shared together, working towards a common goal as a family...
I thought about incorporating my recipes and other cooking related entries into my main blog... but I decided that I would create a separate blog, so that it would be easier to navigate. This way I can have a separate place to remember my mum and share a little bit of what she taught me. I can't wait for my own little girl to get older and help me out in the kitchen, the same way I helped my mum in the kitchen.
So Mum - this blog is dedicated to your memory... I know you're always watching over us and I thank you for the beautiful memories I have of us cooking together, surrounded by love in the kitchen.