What cooking means to me is not what you would think. Everyone has very distinct memories growing up, whether it’s playing on the neighborhood playground, first visit to the beach on a family vacation, first job, or even first kiss. For me, it was cooking with my mom.
The Young Me
It started out with the simplest of tasks that my mom knew I couldn’t screw up, but if I did, it wasn’t a total catastrophe; peeling eggroll wrapper skins. You’d think it’s a simple and easy job; how can anyone screw that up? Let me tell you, it’s not hard to screw up. The sheets are stuck together and if you peel too fast, you’ll rip a hole and then it’s just useless.
At the time I thought it was the most boring task in the world, but it actually turned into the biggest stepping stone to what I would grow to love, admire, and later, it would become something that actually grounds me.
Cooking. (re)Creating. Feeding. Shareing.
My dad is from central Vietnam, Hue, and my mom is from southern Vietnam, Vinh Long, but since my dad doesn’t cook, we always made southern style egg rolls. It was the first thing I remember helping my mom make and it’s the one dish that I will always hold close to my heart.
The Older Me
As I got older, the tasks got harder. Tasks such as grilling and skewering meat. Then it happened…..Mom let me make wontons with her!! My mom had her own way of crimping wontons. To this day, I still crimp the way she taught me, which means more to me that following the Chinese style and making them look pretty.
It was in my 20’s when I visited my little sister in college and cooked for her and her friends, the “JMU hunnies”. I thought it came out disgusting but they thought it was delicious. It was then that I slowly started to develop a taste for food; a feeling of peace when I was in the kitchen; and a feeling of happiness when i shared my food with others.
Fast forward to my 30’s when I started traveling around the world. This opened my eyes to what food truly was; simple. I visited over a dozen countries, over three times as many cities, and found that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. Sometimes the simplest and the fewest ingredients create the most amazing and comforting meals. Realizing this brought me back to my roots with Vietnamese cuisine and a love for food from all over the world.
Now I’m ready for the next phase in my life, my after chapter. I hope to share the passion for food that my mom introduced in me so many years ago.
Most people have been asking for all the recipes that I make that aren’t on the blog, which is mainly the Vietnamese recipes that you don’t usually find in restaurants. I have been working off and on for about two years now and I’m starting to focus more on it. I’m targeting June 10, 2021, which is a special day as it’s my mom’s birthday. Everyone in her life always loved her cooking and it’s time I share it with as many people as possible. Hope I don’t disappoint her!