I remember the first time I took interest in food.
I was with my mom in the kitchen and told her I wanted to cook, just like she did. And since I was about three feet tall and my head didn’t even meet the stove, she let me wash the cabbage instead. So there I was, little preschool me, on a step stool proudly wearing my princess dress with a “crown” that was actually a handkerchief, and I was washing cabbage— and having the best time of my life.
As years went by, I still wanted to cook, to turn plain ingredients into enjoyable dishes; but my mom told me “once you see the stove, you can cook”. So I grew.
I grew a lot faster than the kids in my grade (thanks puberty) and ended up being “tall” for my age at 5’7”. As promised, once I started to grow, I started to cook.
At first, I made simple foods like steamed broccoli, pasta, and sautéed veggies. Then I moved on to making sushi, dumplings, lasagna, foods that aren’t just a dump and stir (but those are still good too!). My mom would always make sure that I ate all my food groups, especially my vegetables. She wasn’t a huge dessert person, so we ate fruit instead.
Little did I know that not everyone has such an awesome mom like I do. She instilled the healthy habits that my peers are struggling to pick up now. I try to eat dinner with company whenever I can, I always include vegetables at every meal, I stay active, and I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go. I learned the baseline of a healthy lifestyle when I was young so it doesn’t even feel like a chore now that I’m older, but it is what it is: a lifestyle.
How do you thank someone who set you up for a well-off future? How do you thank someone who has guided you to your passion, one that you are going to follow for the rest of your life? (For those of you who don’t know me, food is now closely tied to my career goal. I study nutrition at school; it’s truly become a passion)
Well, I’m still trying to figure that out.
Happy Birthday, 妈妈. I love you thiiiiiis much and I can’t wait to see you over Christmas break. I long to cook with you and make your amazing chicken soup. I cannot thank you enough for all the things you have taught me, from multiplication to knife skills. Even more, you taught me how to be independent, humble, patient (still a work in progress) and confident, and that’s something that I am eternally grateful for. I hope you have an amazing birthday because you deserve it, and my infinite gift to you is to make as big as an influence on the world as you did for me.