Celebrating A Good Year With Dad

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - August 30, 2006
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Everywhere I go, people ask, “How’s your dad?”

My answer each time is, “Doing great! Thanks for asking.”

I really am grateful that so many of you care.

This week is our anniversary. One year ago on Aug. 30, Dad received one of my kidneys, and he’s been off and running ever since. He walks every day and has taken up a new hobby - cooking. That’s really something. When we were all growing up, Dad knew one recipe - if you could call it that. It was a concoction we called “yak stew.” That would be yak - as in yuk. With a name like that you can imagine what went into it. He’d rummage through the fridge and throw in anything that was open, left over and not rotten. But even though we made fun of “yak stew,” it actually tasted pretty good. I think he poured ketchup into it, and everything - as you all know - tastes better with ketchup.

Mom mentioned yak stew today as he ladled his homemade chili into a container for me to take home. The memory made us laugh, and the laughter felt good. He still has diet restrictions, of course. That’s something he’ll live with for the rest of his life, but he has adapted to his new regimen with the enthusiasm of a kid digging into a bowl of ice cream. He’s discovered the foodie world beyond shoyu and mac salad. He sends me recipes. He’s discovered fresh herbs. He’s tried his hand at rosemary roast chicken and beef burgundy, and it’s all good. This may not sound like much to you, but it’s amazing to all of us. We know him as the man who was so set in his local food habits that he would take his own musubi to Italian restaurants. Why? Because, silly, they don’t serve rice.

So now he’s discovered he’s got a talent for the culinary arts, and no one is more pleased than Mom. She’s a little tired after years of slaving over a hot stove for a large and always hungry family, so this is a nice turn of events - sort of like a vacation, except that she hovers. She watches. She looks over his shoulder as Dad sprinkles a little more cumin into the pot, and then she gets busy mixing up a flour paste to thicken the beany broth. He’s doing the cooking, but she’s right there with him, helping.

It has been a good year.

To celebrate, we’re all having dinner at his and Mom’s favorite restaurant, Alan Wong’s. We’ll let someone else do the cooking that night so that we can sit back and enjoy the feast and the pleasure of the company.

And we’ll count our blessings. There are many.

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