Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Still etched in my mind were my childhood memories where, I distinctly remember my mom whipping out food she prepared from home whenever we had a family day out over the weekends.
It did not matter where the choice of destination was for the day; it could be the zoo, the bird park, the beach, the botanical gardens, the waterpark…and when it was time to eat, there was my mom’s home-made fares which she had toiled over and prepared the night before.
One particular home-made food I distinctly remember was the Nasi Lemak she used to make for our family outing – a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, accompanied by fried fish, fried chicken, fried egg and sambal on the side – being wrapped up in banana leaves in the old fashioned way.
Other times, there would be the ever-present Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) packed in a tub of Tupperware, carefully tucked in a tote bag she carried along with her, slung over her shoulder.
As a kid, I did not understand why we never get to eat at McDonald’s or KFC or Burger Kings like the other kids. At such an impressionable age (I think roughly at 5- 8 years old), I remember feeling envious of other kids for having such privileges. I think I even felt rather mad at my parents for shoving only home-cooked food to us at that time!
I guess I was too young to understand anything then. But, looking back, I realised the reasons for my mom not encouraging us to eat “outside food”. It was not only because of economic reasons (they were not very well-off and it was extremely expensive to eat out) but for health reasons as well, because, with home-made food she always know exactly what goes in there.
Up till now, I still have a vivid memory of us taking a break from whatever it was we were doing by finding a nice and cool shady spot to rest and tuck into the food which my mom magically whipped out from one of the tote bags she totted along.
So clear is the memory that I can still recall what the food smelt like!
Little did I know that those habits nurtured at such a young age made a very big impact to my life; especially now that I am a mother. And, as time goes by, I realise that I’m being more like my mother.
Thinking back, before the kids came along, I used to prepare simple food from home when we take a long drive out of Bangkok to get through the journey. It could be simple sandwiches, fried rice or Mee Siam and I would be more than happy to make the time to prepare it the night before we leave.
This is something that has continued on even after the kids come along, and I couldn’t be more happy when they, most of the time, prefer to eat at home and requesting for food which I have cooked, instead of eating out.
Being a foodie by device, it also made me realise more than ever that the appreciation of home cooked, healthy meals can be nurtured from a very young age. It is probably the reason why I am so deeply rooted to and very passionate about home-cooking.
It is my hope that both Spud and Squirt too will continue to appreciate my home cooking in their later years to come; they should know by now that I am just too happy to oblige to any of their meal requests. Just like my mom always has, and to me, anything she makes is a treat.
I hope that their memories of food are going to be as special and comforting as my memories of my mom’s home-made food that were all prepared with healthy ingredients made with truckloads of love. After all, nothing tastes better than mom’s cooking! It’s the only authentic comfort food I ever known.