March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
Sharing food with another is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. – M.F.K Fisher.
Lately, it’s been about sharing. Sharing space, sharing time, sharing food and sharing even more. I learn to understand that sharing food forge a connection between people. Sharing a pot of spicy curry with a serving spoon, being aware of taking enough and leaving some for others, hoping for more or the best bits to be left behind so you can savour it quietly. A consideration we were taught one way or another that depicts how we enjoy a meal.
At Ben Thanh market in Ho Chin Minh City, I saw two ladies sharing a shallow bowl of steamed rice, stir fried vegetables and meats. They sat on small stools and leaned over their lunch, occasionally tilting their heads up to watch the crowd. I stood from a distance observing their little break as they wait for each other to take a scoop and go ahead with their own. They didn’t talk much but seem to understand what each other’s preferences. She pushed a last piece of meat over and ate some more vegetable; her friend casually nod her head, a gentle gesture of gratitude.They chewed their food and sat upright, staring at opposite directions. Watching the crowded market go by its usual routine.
Back at home, I have been having more cherished meals. Exploring fresh ingredients found in the market, spending a little longer than usual and planning the meals in our heads. More diced shallots for flavour, watercress for a refreshing aroma and white pepper for a good kick. We place our groceries on the kitchen counter and carry out those careful thoughts. I put my culinary skills/habits aside and allow space for growth. I learn his ways of cooking and love for slow-cook soup. A clear broth with meat and other hearty ingredients simmered over low heat. I reminisced the younger days when every family meal came with a bowl of warm soup; he reminisced the days when his family devoured in simple stews and congee.
We carried on the little habits of eating/cooking, bringing those conversations to the kitchen and table Resurfacing good and bad characters that make us human. Learning, accepting, caring, trusting and growing as days go by.