It's a bit interesting that I'm writing last night, this morning but that's the way it goes at times. If I were being completely fair to myself, I would have written this around 2am and it would have probably helped to put my active mind to rest, either way, here goes nothing and everything just the same.
My parents are both getting older and truth be told it's difficult to watch or even admit that their movements are beginning to slow down. The beauty of it all is that there's so much love and life left within their eyes and smiles; my mom has an energy that's "cute". All of the, "My sweet, sweet..." this and "We looooooove yoooou..." will be gone soon and it's within these moments that I need to live and continue to find solitude.
Recently, I've wanted to learn a few cooking secrets from my parents. We are a group of immigrants, who for the most part still engage in our traditional dialect and other segments of "home". My parents are often shocked when I bring things up which they've forgotten that I know/remember.
Yesterday, my father sent me a text questioning if I knew the specifics of a dish which I was asking him to help me prepare. As I read his text, I shook my head and smirked at my phone, all the while thinking, "This guy". Actually, he tried to tell me that the dish wasn't common when I was living at home with them and that really caused me to pause and think that their memory boxes are almost full.
I've always been an observer and within my observances, I've retained information both beneficial and not. The art of paying attention to detail has brought me to a point that I'm realising if I don't ask these little questions now, they'll be lost forever when those who hold their secrets leave this earth.
The dish in question which I wanted is one that was served regularly during my younger days, at home. An acquaintance of mine recently asked about the dish and I informed him that my mom could probably whip something up for him and his friends. Now, the issue became evident pretty quickly, my mom didn't remember how to make the dish because she hadn't made it years she said; as fate would have it, my father reluctantly said that he knew how to make it and he'd show me.
Now, between me, you, and your phone or computer screen, my dad can cook, the man will step up and throw down without blinking an eye. In our household, you definitely know when mom makes something versus when dad does, maybe it's the presentation or maybe it's the love thrown into the seasoning. I cannot sit here and recall a time when my father ever "waited" on my mother to "serve" him. I'll debunk the mindset of classism, within our home at least.
When my father said he knew how to make the dish, I had a feeling it was going to be him controlling the kitchen and me just watching. I was feeling a particular way, yesterday, and I attempted to grab a rain check for cooking night but was met with, "I woke up and started the soup this morning around 8am. What do you mean you can't make it tonight..." Yeeeah, there was no getting out of it!
I arrived at my parent's house around 6:30pm and was greeting, at the front door, by my singing mother! My energy wasn't nearly where hers was but I embraced her smile and singing with the shaking of my head and a sheepish smile on my part. I don't know why I get so embarrassed when all she's doing is being hyped about a life. Again, something I'll probably need to address within myself.
No sooner had I entered their house and turned to my right, I found my father, the chef, sitting and looking stoic. He didn't even so much as turn his head, when he said, "Are you ready" and it was within this moment, I knew our time was going to be a tutorial of sorts.
All that was weighing on my heart and mind was probably showing on my face. My father asked me if I was okay and I lied to him but he knew I was lying and I KNEW that our cooking session was due to turn into something else if I couldn't pull my "energy" together and do so quickly.
The ingredients were laid out and I began to ask questions as to how the measurements were to be dispersed. I took notes, a couple of pictures and then the true test came, the actual mixing of said ingredients to form the main dish. I know my dad and my dad knows me too, so there was definitely a son versus father exchange when I asked to do the stirring. I thought I heard my dad mutter something under his breath like, "If you make a mistake, we'll have to start again". I'm not 100% sure he said it but I'm sure he said something along those lines. I was seriously just battling for a chance to hold the wooden spoon and stir things up a bit.
I recall my mother doing this so often, when I was a kid! There was magic in watching a mix being mixed and then magically turning into a base. Tonight, the magic came flooding back and for the first time in my life, I held the spoon and was allowed to make the magic happen, all under the careful/watchful eyes of the chef.
My father asked me what was on my mind and I spilled more information than I wanted to. We spoke of work, travel, family, love, and other aspects of life, even lies I'd told. Forever not judging he spoke softly and listened to my heart, my confused heart which at times is huge. His advice was simple much like the dish he showed me how to make. At one point, he said, "Son, not everything is perfect, we make mistakes and hopefully are allowed to fix them"; it made me think of his earlier comment that he muttered under his breath.
LAST NIGHT, I learned something new, something that I already knew when all of the burners were switched off and the tupperware was filled; it simply took my dad being patient, with me, and sharing his knowledge. I'm still my father's son.