What does food represent for you?
If you have watched the most recent Masterchef Australia, you would have seen judge Melissa Leong was moved to tears with Poh’s Malaysian Curry Chicken and nasi ulam dishes. And Melissa later explained that the dishes reminded her of her mum’s cooking and what they used to share together – a taste of home and Family!
I can’t help it but pen down some thoughts. I have been writing about our heritage food, childhood dishes and family connections for a while. So when I saw that Masterchef segment, I really was compelled to share what I have been writing all this time – reconnect to your roots through your childhood dishes!
Your childhood dishes are not just about nourishing your soul, they also represent your heritage, your family and who you are.
When we taste that particular childhood dish, those wonderful memories will flow. Who were you enjoying those dishes with? Who was with you when those dishes were prepared? The surrounding of your kitchen? The conversations?
For example, when I am enjoying a bowl of assam laksa, the mouthful of noodles and sauce will bring back memories of our home kitchen… The sound of chatter between my grandmother and aunty who were preparing the laska pastes and the stock, while remembering younger generations, like myself, sitting at the dining table preparing the fish for the stock… the conversation, the laughter, the aroma and the surrounding of our home kitchen.
Nostalgia is the word!
Why do you think that is the case?
Food is a great “connector”. Research has shown that food is an effective trigger of deep memories, as it is shaped by the situation and emotion at that time.
Thus, for those of you who still have the pleasure of enjoying your fond food memories, take this opportunity to reconnect to your favourite childhood dishes, and share your childhood stories with your children, so as to allow them to understand you better. But most of all, reconnect to yourself – reconnect to who we are, your values, your beliefs, and what you stand for, and at the same time reconnecting to your FAMILY.
No matter which part of the world you come from and are in right now, your cultural food or your childhood favourite dishes tend to play a bit part when growing up. They are not only being lovingly passed down for all of us to enjoy, wholesome while nutritious, but also wrapped around lovingly with family customs, rituals, beliefs, traditions and memories of loved ones, even if they are not living close by with you.
Our childhood dishes – Nostalgia is the word!
Time to hit the kitchen!