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Written by Chit Juan
IF MY MOTHER WERE STILL HERE, this is what I envisioned Mother’s Day to be.
We would go out with family or gather everyone at home on a Sunday and eat our favorites that she lovingly prepared. One of the eight children likes Pochero, another loves Inihaw na baboy, yet another Adobong Hito, and maybe some Burong Dalag. All were her favorites, and my Dad would always count the number of small plates we had at the table because Mama would not waste any “leftover” and had this uncanny ability to irritate my father with lots of small plates of last meal’s leftovers that should not go to waste.
But that is Mom. She cooked from scratch, she invented new dishes from what was in our refrigerator or craved for something she had to go back to market for: Chinese favorites like Tausi, Tongchay and Chaypo—which we thought were her originals. Until my brother and I visited Xiamen and surprisingly found out it was ordinary fare in the Fujian province where my maternal great grandfather came from and landed in Iloilo where my grandfather was born. Thus, we have some Visayan influence through Kadyos Baboy Langka and some other Visayan fare.
If she were still here she would probably still be cooking and serving us her favorites exotic and extreme cuisine: Get ready for Utak (cow’s brain)with Macaroni, Fried Locust and Raw salted Talangka! I miss her, I miss her cooking and her crazy unpredictable ways. There was no food she did not like, and gave in to my Dad who loved Sashimi, Teppanyaki and Paksiw na Talimusak.
If she were still around I would make her eat and try:
• Adlai and see what she makes of it.
• Bukel – for a white bean stew
• Shiratake noodles and tell her it’s zero calories
• Etag or Kini-ing which is smoked pork from the North
And if she were around, I would probably take her to our farm like she used to take me to Paradise Farms (she grew santol and other fruit trees, corn and other short crops). Little do you know that what mothers tell us and show us becomes ingrained in us and guides us to our future path. I never thought I would be having a farm!
On Mother’s Day, think of what you have learned from Mom and show your kids, nieces and friends what an experience it was for you.
And always tell her how you feel for her. I spent many good years travelling with my mother when my father had passed, and we would always have different opinions about stuff, yet we ended up doing crazy things together.
Once we flew to the States and she was in Business Class while I was in Coach. I had a very bad cold, and guess what she did? She swapped seats with me so I could fly better and in comfort. She took the Coach seat. That was just amazing. That is what Moms do.
I miss Mom and I miss her crazy ways. Enjoy your parents especially your mothers’ quirks, idiosyncrasies and temper. Because no one can replace a Mom.
And for all the moms out there, enjoy your children. No matter their moods, their weird ways and their “next generation” habits.
Happy Mother’s Day!