My Mom unknowingly left me a gift this Mother’s Day.
Although she passed away six years ago, I still think about her often, especially on this day.
So, it was with great pleasure that I recently re-discovered a manila envelope on my bookshelf — one that used to be tucked into my mother’s own bookshelf. I pulled out the contents to find old-school plastic sleeves and cardboard folders stuffed with pages that had been photocopied or torn out of magazines. All were of recipes. A few were mine — baking recipes that had caught my eye when I was a teenager in the throes of my addiction to baking, which I’d do every chance I could on weekends after racing to finish my homework.
Most of the recipes, though, were her keepsakes. I started to leaf through them, one by one. There were mimeographed pages from a Chinese cookbook, with the Chinese characters for things like lotus seeds, salted duck eggs, and “longan pulp.” Although my Mom was fluent in Cantonese, I remember hearing her lament on more than one occasion that she could no longer distinguish the written Chinese characters like she once could.
There was a 1985 recipe for “Perfect Pot Roast.” Yet I don’t ever remember her making that homespun Americana dish. Was it a dish she meant to get to one day?