Hot steam and burnt tongues, Sundays
For TOAST magazine's October 2015 column for Yauatcha Life, I wrote a piece/poem about home, belongining and memories - and of course food! Dim sum to be exact.
Sundays, My mother. The click of the trollies as they round the room. Sun through the big windows White tablecloths White, fluffy pillows Of warm char siu buns as my fingers sink into them, Breaking them open Breathing in the aroma.
I remember the steam from the bamboo baskets Leaning over them to get my nose as close as I could The steam rising, curling the soft, new hairs on my forehead. I sucked in the air, Scent on my tongue of earthy cinnamon and hints of Chinese wine. Eyes closed. Sundays, where the familiar rested on my face in warmth.
Sundays, My mother, With her two small daughters, their black hair Against the crisp white of the restaurant Tiny hands grasping the plastic chopsticks Burnt tongues as hot prawns escape the translucent pastry.
The memory of sitting around a large round table I ate, food upon food, A restaurant on the other side of the bridge. An autumn day, with warm sunshine Sundays, of family and food.
Sundays, My mother and sister Missing a home of tropical nights Where the air was cumin and turmeric Filling our bellies with soft spice, And fried squid, salted and sweet Armed against This new town Which smelled of mowed lawns and salt in the air, Sea, everywhere.
The week was filled with navigating the unknown New words, and references and ways of thinking. Cold nights, a concept my young feet were refusing to grasp My cold toes, in thick socks. But Sundays, Sundays was home.
Sundays, My sister With her two small sons, round faced Cherubs Baked puffs, Pastry flaking between their fingers Sesame seeds stuck between their teeth, grinning pleasure A new town, away from both homes An old ritual of Sundays. And, dim sum.
Sundays, My mother, Two small children, Eating. Together. Generation upon generation. Food, finding home.