If you love food, chances are you discovered your passion at home with your parents. As we head towards Mother’s Day, we asked some AI employees about their favourite stories about their mums and food, and the journey that it started them on.
My mum never cooked during my younger days because my grandma is a fantastic cook and ruled the kitchen. We had to cook over charcoal, and my job was to fan the fire. I loved watching the embers fly out of the terracotta stove. All us kids would take turns taste testing, then dodging mum as she yelled at us for tasting so much there would be barely any food left for dinner!
Our family specialities were Lotus Root and Peanut Soup, Steamed Pork Ribs with Shrimp Paste, and Choy Geok – which literally means “meal legs”. It is a one pot stew made from leftovers cooked in a tamarind base soup.
We were typical Asian family. My mum and her siblings gathered weekly at Grandma’s for a feast. They always requested their favourite dishes and always got them! My grandma is still the best cook out of everyone, and now whenever I try a new restaurant I will always compare it to my grandma’s cooking!
I loved baking all sorts of Chinese New Year cookies (because I get to eat as I make them!) with mum. My Mum’s a last-minute kind of person, so we’ll be rushing cookie production 2-3 nights before Chinese New Year. We’ll bake, pack and seal the cookies (mostly for gifts) till 2-3am in the morning. We’ll always say that we’ll do it earlier the following year, but it’s always the same!
My favourite dish to cook with her is either Peanut Cookies, Moist Chocolate Cake, or her signature Mini Sausage Rolls and ‘Mi Ku’ (Steamed Buns).
“Everything you see out there can be made at home”. That’s what she’s said all my life, but we usually end up getting takeaway anyway!
But having said that, she’s still a much better cook than me!
My mum likes to think of herself as an excellent home cook who can recreate anything she sees at a restaurant except better. After one restaurant visit, we tried to make Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Spare Ribs. Not bothering to listen to my advice that we should look at recipes online before attempting the dish, we tried making it and it went horribly wrong. But of course, we still ate it.
Growing up, my mum would always be watching cooking shows on TV and, slowly over time, I started to enjoy watching shows like ‘Masterchef’ and ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ and developed a passion for all kinds of food.
I don’t really like cooking with my mum because she likes to hog all the space on the kitchen bench, but my mum, my sister and I often roll spring rolls or make gyoza together. We all have a job and work like an assembly line.
Am I a better cook than mum? I think it depends. If we’re talking about traditional Vietnamese food and family dinners, my mum definitely has it in the bag. However, I’m definitely better at baking and making desserts.
If you’ve got a story of cooking with your mum you’d like to share, let us know!
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