A DIFFERENT WORLD
“Maa, send the corn chicken recipe.”
It was a way of indirectly letting mom know I missed her. That this lonely, hugless being needed her embrace and presence more than ever.
I am not a terrible cook, but it’s not my first choice or love when it’s time to step in the kitchen. If I ever earn that extra buck, I won’t flinch before hiring a cook, though I would happily clean the house!
In the WhatsApp tab, I saw Maa typing . . .
I opened her chat and sat there waiting for her fingers to work their magic, like they always did when I was young.
This time transported me elsewhere though. I stared at the screen.
I started reading . . .
Ingredients Cooking time Serves
Yourself A lifetime All
Place boneless self in a situation.
Pour time. Add some eye rolls, a handful of tantrums and slaps, and two tablespoons of criticism.
Add a dash of encouragement. Let it boil.
Poke self with a knife. Check for character and behavioral tenderness. Set aside.
Remove frozen memories from the freezer. Add fresh moments. Rinse under flowing time. Grind the mixture together to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
Take a separate circumstance and pour elements of frustration, a tinge of anger, and salt—definitely salt. That's mandatory. Stir.
Add your flavorful self to this concoction. Sauté until all elements combine and shape you.
Pour in memory paste, gradually.
Cover the circumstance with a lid of hope. Let it simmer.
Fifteen minutes later, check on your situation and use the magic liquid in which your boneless-self brewed; adjust the temperament of your dish.
Maa is typing . . .
Ting! I followed her recipe.
My family and I sat to eat. Kids, in-laws, spouse, et al. Some found it bland, some lacking salt. But. For me, for me, every bite was perfect. It was what I made. It was what Maa had made. It was me.
The plates and pans were clean. The food was in their tummy. Tomorrow will be a different meal. I’ll miss you again, Maa. I’ll cook another version of me!
Farida Haji is a Singapore-based freelance content writer/blogger and a full-time mother. She has worked in PR and print media. She finds humor and sarcasm in the darkest of situations and is currently journalling her journey of motherhood on her blog, The Life of Ms.S. On WordPress—a collection of anecdotes about a mom’s life (frustrating, agitating, and sacrificing, yet filled with gratifying and cheerful moments).
Nancy Parks, fine artist, focuses on printmaking, works on paper, and book art. She has a BFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her exhibitions (over eighteen, solo and group) include: Let's Connect Philadelphia at The Barnes Foundation, 3rd Street Gallery, Main Line Art Center. She's a member of the Philadelphia Center for the Book (Book Art), has published poetry six times in Philadelphia Poets Journal, and is a natural cook with published recipes in Yoga Living and Veggie Life magazines.