Nostalgic conversation

Posted on October 29, 2012


Sitting at my KuKu’s kitchen table on the second day of my visit we discussed many things. My childhood with her, her life after the passing of my uncle, and my life in Australia. We reminisce about the time when she taught me how to make fish curry with tamarind juice for a cooking competition in school. I had forgotten to remove the fish gut but our team won the competition all the same. I realised how much I have missed her cooking, which had been such an integral part of all these experiences, while I have been away in Australia.

After starting a new life in Australia, I had often felt it was necessary to return something to my KuKu. The logical way to do this, I felt, was to enable her twin vices of cooking and mothering – and lock in a legacy she could never have had the means to realise alone – by opening a restaurant. In quiet moments of reflection, this vision had been daydreamt into detailed mental blueprints complete with names, locations and décor. But the soft-focus time warp of a sentimental journey is always quickly realigned with reality by the advancing age of long separated loved ones. There, time never stands still. Behind Kuku’s now eighty-five-year-old eyes, I saw straight away that there was simply not the energy – not even in a hands-off sense. The generosity of spirit, extroversion, passion and ingenuity were still there, but she needed to settle in. This dream was never going to materialise.

Today an idea strikes me. In the past few months I have developed an interest in writing and publishing books. Not just any book but ones that will make a difference. Whilst I can’t bring my aunt’s cooking to the world I can certainly share her recipes with all. My spine tingled with excitement. This will be a different kind of recipe book, one that tells a story of family and culture through food……..

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