Food, especially those foods that have strong connections to your childhood, can ignite strong memories and emotions. As you read about my experience, please think back to your childhood. I wrote about my recent trip back to Malaysia and reconnecting to many of my childhood favourite foods and roots. It was a really memorable trip, not only connecting with all our relatives, but also the food I grew up with.
Connections also happen in your own family home. Last week, I had a family guest visiting and we spent three wonderful days learning how to cook our favourite dishes, i.e. the ones that we grew up with, and still longed for. Those foods ignited many fond memories and emotions for us.
For example, the above waffle, is called “kuih kapik” or “love letters”. This is a must have for Chinese New Year. As teenagers, my siblings, cousins and I would head to one of my aunt’s place and we would spend a day or two making them. We would sit together on the floor, facing each other- in between was the stove where we would each look after a few metal moulds. See the image below:
THE BOND AND RELATIONSHIPS
There were lots of laughter and tonnes of FUN and wonderful memories. We would talk, and throw the waffle at each other playfully; our hands would be burnt and hurt along the way, we ate all the leftovers… and our aunts would prepare lunches and afternoon teas. Other relatives would be packing the “Kuih Kapik” in tins, so that we could distribute them to elderly relatives and friends as Chinese New Year gifts.
Now we are all grown with our own families, settling down all over the world; however, we are still bonded with our memories of making “kuih kapik” together. These memories are our bond and connections to our childhood, and most importantly, a sense of WHO we are. They are the link to our bonding, our relationships and the respect and love for each other.
When we tasted the “kuih kapik” we made, those wonderful memories filtered through our five senses… the taste, the aroma, images of the past, and the feelings all flooded back.
So when we are reintroduced to the wonderful food we love, we can easily connect that food to the wonderful and happy memories of our childhood. These memories will lead to connections to our family and friends, and a sense of WHO we are, a sense of connected to our roots, a sense of safety and belonging, and a sense of love and self love.
MAKE ONE MEAL TIME A FAMILY TIME
I am an advocate of encouraging families to make one meal time a family time. Share the joy and love through the dishes you lay out on the table and extend the love to your family.
At the same time, share the dishes you grew up with- the dishes that still bring joy, love and wonderful memories of your family.
What’s more, when the food is prepared by you and your loved ones, additional love and care will be extended towards the dish – as they say, food preparation comes from love.
So, what is your favourite childhood food that you still cook, talk and share among friends and your children today?
Have a connected day with your family.