Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mom's Recipes

One of my quest for this blog is to record all of my mother's recipes. As I ate in Vietnam, I knew many of the dishes but didn't know how to cook them. I realized I only knew how to make a handful of my mother's Vietnamese recipes and so I wanted to put a conscious effort into learning them. Even if I don't make a dish often, at least I will have the recipe because, like all Vietnamese mothers, my mother does not follow recipes. She follows her instinct and taste buds, even tasting a marinade on raw meat (shh! don't tell anyone).

For easy access to my mother's recipes, I will label them Mom's. I wanted to have Mẹ's recipe as a label, since I call my mother Mẹ (pronounced mè, like mère in French or like the first syllable in ma-yor), but I wasn't sure if Me's recipe would seem confusing or grammatically incorrect.

I will admit now, although I'm sure it will become obvious, that I am enamoured with my mother's food. So I can already imagine these posts peppered with anecdotes of my mother. My mother really enjoys cooking and has an affinity for it. I think she also enjoys cooking as a means of pleasing people. Growing up, I assumed that all mothers knew to cook; I soon realized that not everyone is so lucky!

I have an extensive list of my mother's recipes I want to cover. Most are Vietnamese, but some definitely have a Chinese leaning since she was married to my father, who is originally Chinese, and Vietnamese food is influenced by the Chinese anyway. My mother is also from central Vietnam and some recipes tend to be localized to where she grew up. My mother has moved on to western recipes, like roast beef and even potato latkes, but I will stick to the Asian recipes I grew up with.

I would also like to note that a sole recipe for a dish does not exist. I personally have the tendency (hopefully not too annoying) to point out that this is how my mother makes this dish when I eat Vietnamese food. I am not trying to stay that this is the only or best recipe, just the one grew up with; I am sure there are as many versions of a Vietnamese dish as there are Vietnamese mothers!


Gastronomer said...

It's cool, my mom tastes marinade on raw meat too ;-)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I was just at home last week and gosh did I indulge in my mom's cooking.

Me's recipes. Hehe. I call my mom ma'.

I get so annoyed with comments where people think I'm making something wrong because they're unfamiliar with Central-style food. Like my recipe for cha ram and they keep telling me to add noodles and cucumber. Umm, it's fried shrimp egg rolls, not goi cuon. Or when the only banh xeo they've eaten is Saigon-style so they think Central-style is something else. Or when they say my recipe doesn't taste or look like their mom's. That's 'cause I'm not your mom! Argh! Silly people.

Rant aside, yay! More mom recipes. :)

Miss.Adventure said...

Gastronomer: yuck!

Wandering Chopsticks: Going to my mom's is always about indulging and gaining the 5 lbs with it...

I watched Jamie's Great Escape to Italy. He made the same comments. Every region has its way of cooking food, thinks it's the best and others are wrong. We're no different!!