If you don’t know your roots, you are like a leaf that does not know you are part of a tree“.
Source: The Little Nyonya drama series

In the previous article I talked about soul nourishing childhood meals that not only warm you up during the winter months but also nourish your soul and prop you up when you are feeling down.

So what has our childhood dish or traditional dishes got to do with our heritage and culture?

Why do people who migrate overseas tend to search for ingredients that they are familiar with?

For example, when I arrived in Australia, the first thing I searched for was the food and flavour I was familiar with, even packets packet noodles with a hint of Asian flavour were very welcomed.

Why do you think that is?

Your culture or heritage is about your language, your food, your birth name, your tribe, your sense of identity, your religion and your mannerisms. It gives you the foundation of WHO you are and WHAT you stand for.

So, on top of being a comfort to you, your childhood food also reconnect you to your culture and heritage.

Our childhood food is also the food of our ancestors, which is lovingly passed down for all of us to enjoy. They are not only wholesome and nutritious meals, 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.

For example, I wrote about Reconnect to your family traditions through Traditional Food, by re-creating or even learning how to prepare my childhood dishes. This allowed me to reconnect to the ingredients, the aroma and the flavour that I was familiar with as well as giving happy memories of my childhood days with family and friends.

So whenever you prepare your childhood dishes or food, or eat out in a restaurant that prepares your childhood meals, it allows you to reconnect to our culture, our traditions, and remember family members. These dishes also ignite memories about your childhood time that you spent in the family home kitchen watching your grandmother cooking the dish or learning from your mum how to make the sweets …the journey you shared together.

And for those, like myself, who live away from home, we will be missing out on most of the cultural festivities that we used to experience growing up. By cooking our favourite childhood dishes, it allows us to reconnect to who we are, our values, our beliefs, and what we stand for, while linking back to our FAMILY.

So when you step into your kitchen tonight, when preparing the dish that you are planning to cook and share with your family, are you replicating a dish that you grew up with?