Posts Tagged ‘family’

Bubbly Choc

aero chocolate bubbles

Memories can cut across generations in a family. So can a love of certain food, in this case chocolate.

The Aero chocolate bar was a huge favorite of my Grandmother and my Father. I enjoyed it too as child around them, although I believe I enjoyed its bubbly texture that can only be found in an Aero bar, rather more than the taste.

I haven’t had them for many years. Then I excitedly came across Aero chocolate bars at a European-style deli in Los Angeles. And this time, I could appreciate the creamy, smooth flavors – and still enjoyed the bubbles.

Aero was launched in 1935 in North of England, and its unique bubbly texture made it a big success. Glad it is still bubbling around.

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celebrating differences

(Cartoon courtesy of Woman’s World.)

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people who reach out to others

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life's journeyThere was a time in my life when I was going through a transitional and painful period.

I could not have made it without the support of family and friends. But at the same time, I had to do the work to heal myself and move on with my life. In the process, I realized that I had to learn to be my own best friend. I had to be my own advocate.

At times, when my internal dialogue veered towards being hard on myself or to be despondent, I asked myself this question: “What if your best friend had come to you, and said that she had that same internal dialogue about herself? What would you say to her?”

When I thought about it, I knew that my response would be to sooth her, tell her not to be too hard on herself, and offer encouragement or a solution. So I started responding to myself in this manner, and I found that this strategy that I had read about, helped a great deal.

My healing, as most are, was spotty, but slowly I felt somewhat stronger.  At the end of the year, when the shops were aglow and bustling with gifts and life, when everybody seemed to be happy, I decided that I would like to gift myself, for making it this far.

I wouldn’t buy anything that I need, just whatever that would catch my eye and evoke some excitement. One day, I walked into a Japanese department store, and I saw those small, beautiful blue plates with delicate white flowers. I knew that was my gift.

When I got home, and took out the plates from the package, there was a certain emotion, perhaps of calmness, associated with that act.

After that year I didn’t really keep the gifting as a consistent tradition. Some years I would buy myself a gift at the end of the year, some years I didn’t.

Today, my mind wandered to that tradition. But I think this year I have no need of gifting myself.

That’s because this year I have had the opportunity to spend much more time with family and friends, sharing history and strengthening bonds. I also made several new friends, enjoying the ease with which we could talk for hours, and offering each other support in our endeavors and in our understanding of the world.

That is my gift that has been handed to me this year. Intangible, but probably one of the best.

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summer harvest

I'm grateful for the harvest from my garden this year.

pumpkinThere is beauty in simplicity. And that is the wonder of Thanksgiving. It doesn’t ask much of us besides giving thanks for the things that are precious to us….And maybe also gobble up some once-a-year food.

Gratitude is an attitude that has the power to enhance our lives. I like this quote on gratitude by Melody Beattie:

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

And so, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, including these:

  • Family and friends who are always there for me; and
  • Little” things that bring big joy, like a perfect cup of tea, a good book, a good conversation, and seeing that wide-eyed, magical look on a cat’s face.

Happy Thanksgiving

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traditional kuih

Some of the ingredients for apple-shaped  pineapple tarts.

With Hari Raya or Eid, the festival marking the end of Ramadan drawing near, baking season will soon be in full swing in many parts of the world.

Here, in California, my Malaysian friends bake both modern cookies and traditional Malay goodies, from family recipes or those via the Web. I hope they know that their resourcefulness and efforts are appreciated.

In Malay homes, there will be several varieties of kuih (a Malay word which collectively refers to cakes and cookies) set at the table for the enjoyment of guests, and for family members as well.

I know I’m fond of traditional cookies not just for the taste, but for the memories behind them . In the extended family home of my childhood, my grandmother and grandaunt did almost all the baking. Every Hari Raya, they would make pineapple tarts shaped as apples and pears.

The dough was wrapped around balls of pineapple filling, then shaped round for apples, and slightly elongated and curved for the pears. The children were called in for the fun part. My grandmother mixed a pale wash of food dye, and with a small brush we painted the “fruits”: yellow for the apples and green for the pears. Then we stuck a piece of clove for the “stem”.

Today, not many people make this type of pineapple tarts. But in my mind I see them clearly as the day I colored them.

My mother did not bake, but every year, she insisted on having kuih batang buruk, which means “old bark” or “old branch”. These are a mixture of flour shaped like tiny logs, fried and filled with a green bean filling. They can be pretty addictive and I’ve always loved its imaginative name.

I guess I’m also a stickler for traditions. I gravitate towards the heritage kuih before any other. And sometimes, they taste even  sweeter just because they are made or savored so far away from their original home.

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