Posts Tagged ‘family’

A Sad Day

 
There’s a practice in my culture where you’re not supposed to eat when a grandparent (and perhaps any close relative) dies. I think the reasoning is that being overcome by grief makes you lose your appetite.
When I was a kid I used to think it was symbolic of the fact that the grandparent was no longer around to care/provide for the grandchild.

Pink

My great-aunt passed away this morning, in the same hospital my grandmother (her sister) died almost three decades ago.
We called her Aunty Yaa, and she was the last of my grandmother’s siblings alive, a generation has passed on.
My siblings and I, we sort of owe our existence to her – she introduced my parents (before they’d be parents) and played matchmaker, but I don’t hold that against her.
She lived a long, long fulfilling life and always treated me lovingly; I lived with her and my great-uncle Dan briefly when my parents’ marriage ended.
They’d recall stories of their travels and she’d talk about my grandmother, whom I never really knew, and for a while I felt like a child again.

Red 138/365 Pink Buds #mostly365
Red Leaves Bloom

I didn’t get to see her much after that brief stay, my great-uncle Dan passed away a few years later, that was about the last time I saw her.
For my mom, it’s little like she’s lost her mother all over again, and that’s hard to take.
On Sunday she called home and my aunt B. held the phone up to Aunty Yaa so she could hear her breath, and I could tell she was comforted.
I’m sad that she’s gone, that I’ll never see her again, she was the only ‘grandmother’ I had.
It’s a kind of dull grief that surrounds and touches everything around me; I haven’t felt this kind of sorrow in a while.
If there’s life after death, then she’s in a better place, happy and reunited with her husband, her siblings, her mother, her friends… all together again. And that is comforting.

So there’ll be no talk of food today; instead I’ll leave you with this:
Sinead O’Connor singing ‘Lay Your Head Down’….

Leaves

A Short Visit In Pictures

Last weekend, my cousin visited briefly from San Francisco.
And although the visit was kicked off with a medical emergency that involved a hurried drive to Seattle and back, we managed to make the most of our short time together.
For a little while we played tourist in our little neighbourhood and had some wonderful meals.
And of course I brought my camera along…

False Creek

Cinema

On Water

Blue Water Cafe

English Bay

231/365 David Lam Park #mostly365

Three

Granville Bridge

Granville Island

Tables

Olives

Lamb & Greens

Lemon Cake

A Brunch

Brunch for Mom

After weeks of trying to come up with the perfect gift for my mom for Mother’s Day last month, my siblings and I decided we’d make her brunch instead.
And by ‘we’, I mean @adjoa – who is really the cook in the family, the rest of us are just stumbling along.
It wasn’t hard coming up with what to make, we wanted a meal that combined three elements; it had to be brunch-y, remind her of home, and it had to be healthy.

127/365 The Makings of Mothers' Day Brunch #mostly365 Garri
Roasted Vegetables Four Eggs

We tossed a few ideas around and finally decided on a frittata with a side of gari (not to be confused with the pickled ginger condiment!) and roasted vegetables.
Eggs are the ultimate brunch food, Gari is a Ghanaian favourite and the roasted vegetables ties it all together with a healthy kick.

Slice Frittata
Onions Frittata Cooking

Onions, parsley and sundried tomatoes went into making this a hearty and delicious frittata.
I hear the secret to a fluffy frittata is to beat the eggs well to get in as much air as possible.

Gari Foto

I suggested that perhaps we could make our own gari!
It’s basically dry roasted cassava flakes, T&T has frozen grated cassava, surely, it can’t be that hard to make.
Several lifetimes ago, during the period my mom refers to as my magical childhood – when we lived in the middle of nowhere (living my father’s dream), we’d make our own gari – I don’t remember the actual process, but I do recall the excitement.
Apparently making your own gari isn’t as exciting as I remembered; it’s in fact very labour intensive and not fun, so we got a bag from the African General Market on Kingsway instead.
The gari is mixed in with tomato sauce and smoked salmon giving it a softer texture, almost like mashed potato but firmer and grainier.

Roasted Vegetables

My mom loved the roasted vegetables; and rightly so… a little oil and seasoning, a bit of time in the oven and you’re rewarded with scrumptious flavourful veggies. It’s nutritious, goes with everything and perfect as a side dish drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Brunch for Mom

Mom's Brunch All Done!

You’ve probably never met my mother, yet I feel I should mention this; it’s really hard to tell right away if my mom likes something… because with her everything is ‘ok’ initially, she reserves comments until days later and that can get frustrating sometimes.
My mom enjoyed this meal, I could tell when she cleared her plate; and days later she talked about how good her Mother’s Day brunch had been, I for one was glad we didn’t get her that handbag.

Breakfast Hominy

Breakfast Ready

Hominy porridge is a popular breakfast food in Ghana, and in Jamaica too, although it’s prepared slightly differently.
Hominy is dried corn kernel that’s been processed to remove its hull and germ.
The ancient traditional process, called nixtamalization keeps the corn from sprouting, hence extending its storage life for food.
And according to Wikipedia, nixtamalization also…

“ converts some of the niacin (and possibly other B vitamins) into a form more absorbable by the body, improves the availability of the amino acids, and (at least in the lime-treated variant) supplements the calcium content, balancing maize’s comparative excess of phosphorus.”


Hominy - Uncooked

Hominy porridge is also a street (breakfast) food both in Ghana and Jamaica.
My earliest memory of eating hominy porridge was when we’d visit my grandmother in Koforidua.
In the mornings, the women would come by the house carrying pots of breakfast wares; and they’d announce what they were selling in a sing-song tone.
My favourite was the hominy porridge, I’d keep an ear out for her, I’d run and get my grandmother, we’d come out with bowls and get generous helpings of delicious hot hominy porridge.
We’d add sugar and a few tablespoons of evaporated milk, and settle in to eat breakfast – and that’s how I’d start my day at my grandmother’s.
I didn’t eat hominy porridge for a while after my grandmother passed away, it didn’t taste like I remembered it when I tried it again years later. It had lost its specialness.
In a way, I think I needed to be in a happy place to be able to remember it like it used to be.

IMG_3065

A few years ago I picked up a bag of dried hominy at the store, I wasn’t even sure that it was the same thing, and I had no idea how to make it.
Instinctively, I emptied the bag into a slow cooker, added water and set it to cook overnight.
Next morning I walked into the kitchen announcing in a sing-song tone that my porridge was ready.
This time it reminded me of my childhood, and enough time has passed to add on new memories.

Breakfast

I love having this for breakfast, especially on weekends – my recipe has evolved a bit.
I add a bit coconut milk, and I add toppings too; blueberries, cashews, raisins, dried cranberries, shredded coconut.
It’s really really good, and hearty and filling and delicious.
There isn’t much to the recipe, just one part hominy to three parts water or milk or coconut milk.

Breakfast - Hominy w/ dried fruits & nuts

Whole hominy is usually sold canned, frozen or dry, and can be found in Latin American grocery stores or the international aisle of grocery stores.
Grits and tortilla flour are made from ground hominy.

In Return

There once was a boy, a uniquely quirky and enchanted boy who too wandered very far.
He was like the boy from that song in many little ways.
He was very much the middle child, with all the middle child complexities.
When they were much younger, he’d watch and listen… people; strangers, family members and friends… fawn over his siblings – they were the most precious and beautiful things they’d laid eyes on.
Paul - Close up II

And to the little boy, they’d say how much like his father he bore resemblance, almost as if to imply it was uncanny.
One day he went to his grandmother and the little boy asked; did no one think of him as good-looking as his siblings?
His grandmother would say, “Hush! That’s such nonsense talk, can’t you see how wonderful you are?”

Paul - Close up III
But the seed had been planted and the little boy knew he wanted to be different.
He prayed he’d be different from his father; both in character and in form.
And he’d try for years…
And then one day he took a look again, and then he saw him…
The man his grandmother had always seen.
And it was him.

Paul VII


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