I am the youngest daughter in a big family, so I was used to many people taking care of me. I have lots of childhood memories with my mother cooking and me simply hanging around. At that time, Taiwan was still a poor country. I remember how we used a traditional stove to cook. We used wood and straw to make fire for the stove. I always helped to keep the fire on when my mom was cooking. I had so much fun watching her cook. She was my world and my role model.
When I played, I would imitate her doing laundry by the little river, cooking food in an imagined pot, or carrying a pillow imagining it was a little baby. I always was eager to join her world and participate in her life.
I am still fond of the different traditional festivals. The main reason is that my mother is always so joyful and excited when she is preparing food for us. She gets up early and prepares chicken or duck as the meal of the day. During those days it was so early that I was still asleep when she got started, but the noise of chicken running around woke me up.
My mother never complains that there is so much work to do for all these festivals. She always does all these preparation with joy and love. What likely keeps her going is the anticipation that the whole family will gather together and all her children spread all over the region will come home for dinner.
I never understood how much effort and love went into these activities until I had my own family. To raise a big family is not easy. My mother didn’t have too much attention for me during those days. In my childhood memory, I always thought maybe she didn’t love me so much especially when I came home from a storm and she paid little attention. But as time went by, and as I became a mother myself, I realize how much love and effort my mother spent on us to keep us well-fed and healthy.
I love you, Mother! Thank you for giving me this precious life and nurturing me with food and love! I am now ready to connect with your powers and be as talented as you are! I am now ready to join life as I connect with you! You are my role model for food, life, learning and strength!
By Su Zhen