my father used to cook a lot more when i was younger and when we all ate meat, although he made many non-meat dishes, hot sauces and sambols so i don't know why he doesn't cook more now. i wish he would! there are dishes i specifically request from him alone like his deviled soy meat (once deviled chicken), his green chili sambol is untouched, and he's famous for his curried king fish. above are the pappadums he will stand in the garage for an hour frying (to keep the smell from permeating the house), and he'll happily stand there twice as long to fry two kinds of vadai even if you insist he should come in and stop fussing over you. (sometimes i'm glad that he's even more stubborn than me.)
i challenged my mom in the kichen when i was growing up. i devoured every sri lankan dish put in front of me…but could she just learn how to make chinese black bean spare ribs like the kind i just fell in love with at dim sum, please? or vietnamese fried pork chops just like the ones from pho-whoever on kennedy? and she'd try to. on a weeknight. having never tasted whatever the hell i was describing and trying to analyze long before i could turn to recipes on the internet. i love her for that, and for asking to drop off "just a few things" she made and then showing up with everything in the picture above plus two dishes i forgot to include in the picture. and also…
for her exhaustive approach to food, which mades me more careful and detailed than i might have been otherwise. she will take half an hour to go though tiny leaves from a bunch of greens, discarding anything that doesn't pass muster, no matter how rushed she really is. and when james and i borrowed their car for the weekend last december, she packed this little snack for us…note the crustless bread, the 3 different spreads and the labels!!! we tease but we love. because she did it because she loves.
basically, i love them for putting so much love into their food, which is a big part of how they show love to the people around them. eating with them always results in a feast, like the one above. on that particular night, my aunt came by my parent's house because i asked if i could slowly start learning some of their recipes. two hours later, we had all this. recipes to follow here…eventually…after many more lessons from the masters.