All together now
FOR NGOC MINH NGO, IT IS A SHARED LOVE OF VIETNAMESE DISHES THAT BRINGS HER SCATTERED FAMILY BACK TOGETHER
My mother’s greatest joy is to see her extended family gathered together for one of her Vietnamese feasts. Nothing gives her more pleasure than to see her American-born grandchildren slurping her noodle soup or devouring shrimp on sugar cane.
Despite our increasingly busy lives, and families spread far apart across the US, my sisters and I have made it a point to get together as often as possible. We have begun to pay more attention to our mother’s cooking with the hope of passing on that knowledge to our own children one day.
Vietnamese cooking can be time consuming to prepare, but the process gives us the chance to catch up with one another, at ease in the kitchen. Talk continues at the table, where all the dishes are put out at once, and everyone passes everything around. There are chopstick-wielding hands going everywhere, to the sound of laughter and unceasing conversation. This is how I remember my childhood – always a joyous occasion and the food, invariably delicious.
Ngoc (in purple) with her family: mum Phi Truong (sitting), and sisters (from left), Anh, Trang, Hieu and Annie, and Ngoc’s daughter Lily