Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, holla holla hollaaaa

My mom has been visiting for the past 3 weeks, and it has been wonderful to eat some of my favorite dishes everyday. It's also been great to show her some recipes that I've learned, such as French bread or oatmeal peanut butter cookies.

My, what an oddly shaped loaf you have there.

I love cooking, and find great joy in it, but there is something so comfortable about standing in the kitchen with my mom. I don't know how to describe it...The other night, I made a pot roast for dinner. My mom stood in the kitchen as I browned the roast. Still watching, she started telling stories about our family during the war.

During the Vietnam War, she was 24 years old, my oldest sister was 4, second oldest sister was 3, and my brother was only 6 months old. While our father fought with the South VN army against the Viet Cong, my mother was trying to escape from north VN to the southern part of VN. So with 2 toddlers and a baby, she fled. Along the way, they found food wherever they could, and often ate spoiled scraps that Communist army wives threw out.  
Your (oldest) sister was 4 years old, so she was old enough to beg for food. Afterward, she would share it with your (other) sister...Your brother was just a baby, but the (Communist) soldiers had taken the hat I used to protect him from the sun, so his skin was all red and peeling. 
I cannot imagine the pain of having to coach your children on how to beg for food, or the desperation that my mom must have felt watching her newborn's skin redden and crack from constant sun exposure. I don't know how they survived, but can only attribute it to God's grace. I don't understand any of their struggles from that time, but can appreciate that it enabled me to live a good life in America.

Sometimes I wonder, is my adoration of food too extreme? I love food, because my family loves food. If we have something good to eat, then we love to share it. We find comfort in the kitchen together, and I think we laugh harder and louder when cooking together, or sharing a good meal. It probably stems from the knowledge that we almost didn't have this life. My family survived for a month on rotten and foraged food, and today we are able to appreciate the pleasure that good food brings. They suffered greatly, but God saved them, and He's continued to bless our lives. God has enabled me to appreciate His creations that aren't just nourishing, but absolutely delicious. He brought my family out of war, starvation, and desperation, and now 27 years later, I am blogging about food. This amazes me. As the new year begins, and I reflect on the past, I am thankful that my life is so abundant that I can taste/create good meals, and I am thankful that I am able to share it with all (6) of you. I am so blessed. Happy New Year, everyone.
Mom and I playing with Kyle in the snow.

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