I couldn’t believe my eyes when my mum sent me this photo via whatsapp. What shocked me was not the fact that she *knows* how to send a photo. She learned that some time back.

What made my jaw drop was the fact that she sent me a picture of her COOKING.

She cooked lunch.

I’ve never mentioned it, but Mum lost interest in cooking years ago, after which she relegated the task unofficially to Dad. “I’ve already been cooking for him so many years, is it not fair that he cooks for me now?” she responded when I asked her one time.

She still cooks from time to time, just that they have become rare occasions. Which makes me very sad, cos Mum is such a good cook. Dad does hearty Hakka dishes really well too, but Mum is the real kitchen nerd in the family. Don’t have to look further than her tattered collection of recipes for proof.

Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree …

After recently discovering my interest in cooking, I’ve been spamming her with photos of my cooking, to which she didn’t really respond. I was perplexed. Why were there no words of encouragement or a “good job” pat on the back?

It took me a while to get it. I was cooking Western dishes I’d learned off the net. Why would my mother get excited over things that I learn from OTHER people? If anything she was probably devastated silently that years of nurturing had less impact than some shiny YouTube videos. #heartofamother

Then recently something changed. After a string of Western meals, my palate longed for something different. With a lot of apprehension, I dipped my toes into Asian cooking territory, only to find it far more complex and challenging in terms of techniques and flavours.

I loved the challenge. And more and more Asian dishes started creeping into my kitchen.

I started cooking stuff that I used to watch HER cook. The wan tan mee, the turmeric chicken, the fried fish cutlet with tomato sauce. All things I ate growing up, and requested her to make whenever I came back to Ipoh.

Sure enough, her behaviour on whatsapp changed. From stony silence, she would respond to my photos and excited messages with tips and improvement advice.

Today, our communication about cooking breached a whole new level.

Not only did she send me a picture of her cooking, she actually wrote down the recipe!

What was more important: she was cooking lunch. Something she hasn’t done for a while, when I’m not around. Father has been complaining, “Your mother never wants to cook. And when I cook, she complains it is not tasty enough. Sometimes have to dump food. Hai, I also dunno how.”

I wonder if Mum lost interest in cooking because she didn’t think she would be able to pass on her knowledge to me. And now that she noticed my burgeoning interest in cooking, it motivates her to start sharing her knowledge with me?

Doesn’t matter. We all benefit from this development ๐Ÿ™‚

For the record, here’s the funny chat we had:

[04/09, 14:29] Alexandra Bunny Wong: What do you put on top of the fish?
[04/09, 14:44] Home hp Mum: Yun, buy apiece of fish also can. Rub a little of salt, leave for 20 minutes. Then fry it in little oil until fully cook and a little crispy. Put on th plate. Chop theโ€‹ garlic about 1and half gloves,fry them with one and half table spoons until little crispy then add in choy poh(ready chopped into pieces in packet). about 2 table spoons add about half tablespoons of soya sauce into the mixture and fry for about two weeks minutes.. Take them, from the wok and put them on top of the fish. Ready to eat. Buy more choy Poh does matter can put in a box and keep in fridge. It’s a tasty fish.
[04/09, 14:45] Alexandra Bunny Wong: Wow ok you wrote out the whole recipe!! No wonder you took so long to reply
[04/09, 14:53] Alexandra Bunny Wong: Want me to put on facebook or not? Hehe I won’t share the recipe lah.
[04/09, 15:03] Home hp Mum: Thanks. Try it, can cook for your in law. If you want to beautify it, chop some Chilli and springle on top of the fish. It’s O K. B Can put on the face book. It’s my recipe. Taken in the dinner of a famous and rich woman’s chef of ipoh. Both the chef and the famous rich woman have passed away few years ago.