Great post here from Renita Weems. Thinking about it as I eat the warming, delicious arroz caldo, which I 'requested' (a word I heard a lot in the Philippines to describe when someone asked for a certain kind of food to be brought back to the States from the islands) my mom make for me this week. I've been sick with a bad cold and cough and it was just what I needed.
I've learned how to make arroz caldo myself, but there's something special about having your mom make you a dish like this. It's made with love and care, for sure, but for me it's also special because my mom and I haven't always had a good relationship. It's been rocky, to say the least, and fraught with many difficult tensions and ongoing dramas that I'd rather not get into right now.
But food has always been something we had in common, something we could use to comfort ourselves and each other, something we both loved. If there's anyone I got my foodie-gene from, it was definitely my mom. She and I like to go to new restaurants (for her) together. H. and I took her to Roy's in San Francisco for her 60th birthday. She tells me she now prefers baby salad greens and balsamic vinaigrette over iceberg lettuce and Wishbone salad dressing. She brags to people about how I introduced her to Vietnamese, faux-meat and gourmet Indian food.
And most importantly, food is the biggest way that my mom confidently, easily can show me that she loves me. And it's the easiest way for me to accept her love, no strings attached and no drama involved.