Dinner Is Normal

My mother spent many nights making dinner for me and my dad.  Dinner was one of the few aspects of my confounding childhood that made sense:  a small proof of normalcy.  By 2011, my mother had mostly stopped cooking.  I took this as a sign that she’d given up trying.

IMG_1970

Making dinner 2013

But dementia takes away your life.  My mother had been so vigilant about buying fresh ingredients so she could feed us real food, so when I see her not being able to feed herself, I find it devastating.

anna's old place 1

Making dinner 2007

I find the act of cooking and sharing food a great joy.  When I make food for you, it means that I care about you.  What I may not be able to express with words, I can say with dumplings.

anna's old place 2

Chez Anna & Paul, 2007

Just like I learned from my mother.

Children who grow up without having a warm rapport with their parents will most probably turn into parents no better than theirs.  I am sure the short cut to a warm, close family is having meals together.  The joy of working in the kitchen and setting the table for their family is a lesson children can learn only from their parents.

––Chang Sun-Young, from A Mother’s Cooking Notes

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