My mom would insist she did most of the cooking in the house.
Us siblings remember it differently. For peace sake, we agree that her and my dad shared some of the cooking duties. It’s not that my mom wasn’t a great cook, she was, but my dad loved cooking.
Having a father that cooked back in those days was quite rare, although to us kids, it was normal. Looking back, I realise how much I enjoyed it and how much it taught me.
Our family always had our meals together sitting around a dining room table or at a kitchen table. Mealtimes were not only an opportunity to share a nice home cooked meal, but also to enjoy light conversation, to connect and to bond as a family.
I recall sitting on top of the kitchen counter, watching as my dad chopped, peeled and prepared, with pots steaming and boiling away on the stove. When I was old enough, I became my dad’s assistant, given the duties of chopping and peeling. I loved being called on to help with the ‘cooking’ — this was grown-ups terrain!
My love for cooking and for food has never waned.
As with most families, over the years a few favourite meals have emerged. My daughter calls it her ‘happy food’! She recently returned after being out of the country for 8 months, and asked me to make her some ‘happy food’. There were a few I could call on, most are hearty meals, and I chose one my father used to make. It’s a simple dish with meat, green beans and potatoes.
As I stood over the pot, the ingredients slowly ‘prupping’ on low heat, I smiled at the legacy of ‘happy food’ in our family, and the honour to carry it forward.
What’s your ‘happy food’?
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.