The Shen Family
I went to America in 1984 at the age of 37 years old. In 1987, I invited my mother, 76 years old, to come to my master’s degree graduation ceremony at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The photo was taken by the Mississippi rive, in downtown New Orleans during that trip. My dear daughter, then 6 years old, still remembers her life with her grandma in Shanghai after I left China. August in New Orleans is very hot, my daughter delivered a cup of drinking water to her Grandma. Her grandma didn’t look at the water but looked at her granddaughter smilingly from her heart. My mother’s face showed her as happy and warm.
33 years passed, my daughter is a VP an international company, and my mother has passed away. I believe the moment of the photo was a precious memory of my mother’s, because she so often would show the photo to her friends when she lived.
Photo Courtesy of the Shen Family.
The Shen Family
I brought my lovely son, 7 years old, to the Northwest park in Austin. The photo shows that the hill is very high and steep. I wore a pair of leather shoes and slipped on the grass. At that time, my son reached out his small hand and tried to help his father to climb. If I had fallen, it might have pulled my son down from the hill. However, at that moment, my son was never thinking about his danger, he just wanted to help his father.
The photo was taken at the Northwest park of Austin in 2000 20 years ago. Now, my son is an Engineering engineer and taller than me, I am old and retired for more than 10 years. Looking at the photo with tears, I believe that the love is the most valuable in our life!
Photo Courtesy of the Shen Family.
The Chhabra Family
On March 12, 2020, my older brother and I got the news from our mother, Roopa, in Delhi, that our father, Sumesh, had passed away after a long battle with Parkinsons. My brother, Ruchir and I immediately traveled to be with our mother and help attend to the funeral arrangements. On March 24, the government of India responded to the COVID19 pandemic and instated a “lock down” that would keep us sheltered in place at Mom’s and extend our visit from one week to eight weeks.
The three of us had not spent so much time together under one roof since we were kids. We passed the time indoors by cooking meals together. Mom is an excellent chef who plans her whole day around caring for her family and home. I make videos of us cooking so that I could remember how to make her dishes.
One very special dish we had on the morning before Ruchir and I boarded our emergency relief flight back is called Atta ka Hulwa. It’s a sweet made from ghee, wheat flour, sugar syrup and eleichi (cardamom). Mother’s Day was the same day we left, so we surprised her by making this special dish and eating it together. It’s a tradition in our family to say a prayer and have a sweet before we leave on a journey.
Photo Courtesy of the Chhabra Family.
The Pandy Family
When my parents met in Greensville, Mississippi, they were just friends. Or at least that is what my mom assumed. When she moved to Memphis, my dad, in his attempts to court her, started making weekend trips to visit her and help her around her new apartment. She would always send him back with siopao asado because it was easy for him to eat during his drives back to Mississippi. 43 years later, my mom tried to make that same siopao asado recipe from memory so my dad would have quick lunch while he worked from home due of the shelter in place mandate. Because she was concerned about going to the grocery store, she made the siopao with whatever she had on hand, but with chicken. Over FaceTime one night, I asked her how it went. I overhead my dad in the background say "it was not very good." My mom laughed and exclaimed: "he says that but he ate two!"
Photo Courtesy of the Pandy Family.
The Kester Family
I grew up on a small farm in Iowa in the 1960s and '70s. After my parents would have one of our hogs butchered, Mom would make Scrapple, which is a very old European country food. It continues to be made in America, especially by farmers with German heritage.
Pork bones were stewed to make broth and make use of the small bits of meat left on the bones. All the bones were removed, the meat was chopped and put back in the pot, and seasonings and cornmeal were added to the broth. It was cooked and stirred to make a thick mush, then poured into a loaf pan and cooled. After being refrigerated overnight, it was sliced and fried in a little oil (or lard or bacon grease) until browned and crispy on both sides. We ate it for breakfast with butter and syrup. I always loved it!
As a young adult, I found and moderated a recipe for a simplified version using breakfast sausage, and Mom ended up using that method too, after she and Dad retired to town, and no longer had hogs to butcher. I'm glad I helped my family continue to enjoy a traditional dish.
Photo Courtesy of the Kester Family.