Probably I should reword the title as “Nostalgia Time”.
When I was young (and was still doing primary school in the 80’s), I still remember how my family used to have our dinners.
My dad was a lorry driver and work back then was tough. Coupled with asthma that he had, I am just amazed how he managed to pull the family to where we are now. His pay sometimes depended on the completion of work, so it is not often he gets salary like how some of us getting now but not once we went to bed without food in our stomach.
So, knowing that we may have dinner late, what my mom would do is that she would ensure that we have tea break at about 6.00 pm with sufficient biscuits (normally that would be enough until it’s time for dinner) and prepare something for dinner just in case my dad returns late. My dad will return at 8.00 pm, bringing some sundry goods and both of our parents would get busy at the kitchen preparing dinner. Yes, my dad is the main cook in the house and he cooks so well. Despite being tired, he will take a quick shower and do the cooking. Meantime, me and my siblings are left to finish our homework and do our studies whilst dinner is being prepared. Education was very important to my parents and was the priority in at home. For them, dinner can wait, not the studies.
We did not have a dining table back then – we stayed in a small single storey house. So, we would have dinner sitting down on the floor. My parents would take rice and curry and leave portions of chicken or fish to me and my sibling. They rather have their children eat the good stuff. It’s the same now with my son – he is given the best meals (such as premium broccolis every week). My dad have one principle when comes to eating dinner – that is we must finish whatever been cooked for that night. Unfinished curry for the night might be used for the next day but not more than that (mind you that old fish curry makes an excellent taste when is eaten with hot thosai in the morning).
These days – we have all have grown up and financially are much better off than my dad’s time. Unfortunately we hardly have the time to have a family dinner. I would reach home at about 7.00 pm, have a quick dinner and it’s off to my computer or TV until bedtime. So, does my brother. My dad, after his heart bypass surgery had stopped cooking and left the kitchen to my wife (who is becoming excellent cook herself). He only comes in to the kitchen when his “expert advise’ is required. My son has his dinner whenever and wherever he wants though – he is the VVIP at home.
Dishes cooked by my wife – home cooked food is always a welcome taste
So, one fine day (on a Sunday actually), we decided to have dinner the old good way – cook and have our dinner sitting down on the floor. My son got so excited seeing all the dishes on the floor – within his reach to mess around (and he did manage to put some on our plates). The dishes were excellent – the “sambal” was at the right spiciness and the “kurma” curry was at the right thickness. My siblings were back from their place and we all grouped at my house. My dad as usual was at the thick of the action on the kitchen – primarily tasting some of the dishes before it was served. My wife, despite the number of dishes needs to be cooked was cool and from time to time, had to handle my son who found his way to the kitchen and wants to help peeling the potatoes too.
But at end of the day, what made it worthwhile was the nostalgic feeling – having dinner cooked and then served immediately. The feeling of sitting down on the floor and having dinner was even great.
Dinner time the old way – with family.
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