Thursday, November 18, 2004

Soul Food

As I hit my middle years and reflect on my life thus far, there's one thing in my life that has been a constant in my life - food. I was blessed growing up with a mother who had a passion for eating well no matter how much money you had. We were poor but we always ate like kings. Rarely did Mum slop things out of a can - soups were always home made. Before we moved to Australia from Canada and she was a stay-at-home-mum, I remember coming home from school always greeted with the warm smells of the kitchen, corn fritters, roasts, pies and soups. During those cold winters, we would be led downstairs by our olfactory senses to French toast, porridge with milk and brown sugar and freshly made pancakes with maple syrup freshly made by her. My parents finally separated after a long and miserable marriage when I was about 3. My mother is Maltese and my father was your typical drunken,sexist,bigot from Liverpool and wouldn't let her eat her 'wog food' so she had 25 years of making Sunday roasts with rice pudding. As part of her new freedom, she found a deli and starting eating garlic,chillies,roll mops (which I've never developed a taste for)and blue vein cheese. Blue vein was the first cheese I had. The fridge soon filled with olives,capers and other such objects, which has since fuelled my lust for delicatessens and the gorgeous bounty they hold. In addition to deli's, I love markets, with the barrows overflowing with bountiful,fresh produce, Asian groceries wandering the aisles, watching the little Vietnamese women picking up vegetables and smelling them to make sure they have the freshest and the best. I love old Middle Eastern and Indian spice shops filled with cloves,pepper corns,tumeric,coriander,sumac,saffron and a multitude of other spices. I love fish markets, butchers and poultry places... I go to these places and feel the black hairs sprouting out of my chin, my head scarf and my black mourning dress that I've been wearing since I was six when my dad's,brothers wifes cousins friends budgie died. Oh yes my friends, the wog mama comes out in the Milongita big style. I can't wait to take my foodie purchases home and make something to warm the body mind and spirit. One food I totally love for many reasons is soup. I believe that soup saves peoples lives. It heals colds and broken hearts, dries up snotty noses and tears and is like a hot water bottle for the soul. I eat soup at least 3 times a week, whether I make it myself or at a restaurant. The only soups I hardly make myself and would rather eat out are Asian soups. I love Vietnamese noodles soups filled with fresh seafood,vegies,bean sprouts and topped with chilli,lime and coriander. Japanese ramen and udon noodle soups are divine. I go to a place in the City where for $6.80 you get the yummiest and freshest bowl of laksa loaded with everything. My goal for 2005 is to write a cookbook on soups and comfort foods. I think there are enough Jamie Olivers and Bill Graingers doing restauranty type books. So, look forward in the future to hopefully my book being published and bought by the masses.... I will finish this blog by quoting from the wonderful book and film 'Like Water For Chocolate" by Laura Esquivel;
Soups can cure any illness,whether physical or mental-at least, that was Chencha's firm belief, and Tita's too,although she hadn't given sufficient credit to it for quite sometime. But now it would have to be accepted as the truth." Remember, to the table or to bed... you must come when you are bid....

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