There is something about my Grandmother’s noodle soups that is so amazing that I will live a life seeking for the standards she set upon my taste buds as a child. Her cooking, her soup broths are certainly unforgettable and I am ashamed to say that I have not visited her in the last 14 years (she lives in California) as her food is what my dreams are made of – I am sure I would find all the secrets off the tip of her tongue. She would show me everything – about food, about love, about life…with a chuckle and a rolling tear.
(My grandmother and my brother, 1980)
We all know that the difference between Grandma’s cooking and Chef cooking are worlds apart. There is a time and a place to enjoy both your Grandma’s cooking and restaurant cooking – but in the end, what delights us most is our favourite dish from Grandma/ Mum, the way she makes it, is the way you like it and that will never change.
As I have a habit of going East instead of West, we traveled to Vietnam recently to teach Simon about Vietnamese cuisine as well as me picking up more tips from aunts, uncles and cousins. Although stating the obvious, we discovered that there was nothing like great home cooked food. Food made for the family is always something we tend to add a little more effort to, sprinkle a few extra miles, seasoned with lots of love.
The same goes for most street food where someone only has a little stand, or a bag full of buns and not a fancy restaurant. They can only depend on how good their food tastes. The same goes for us.
Through late night conversations over wine and snacks, Simon and I, back in September 2009, joked and dreamed about having our own restaurant one day. But at the moment – we might as well be a street stand – or there is the living room…
“Lets do it!” Simon says, “You and me.” And there it was, our history in the making.
Inspired by our summer trip to Northern Italy, where we ate at secret family mountain restaurants over 5 hours, 9 courses for 30euros each with friends. We set our foot on the path and we just did it. Dedicating as much time, love and passion into our project, our plans for the supper club or the ‘underground’ restaurant were simple. Make good food – no gimmicks necessary– just keeping in mind a small trick of Grandma’s.
Our Grandmothers, mothers and all their mothers throughout the generations were more or less powerless in society. But ironically, they had so much grip over their families and their men. They held power over men, even the most powerful men who ruled countries and created war. Each I am sure, was held by their taste buds – every evening, every meal time.
Its going the extra mile. Its giving the juicer bit of meat to your favourite person. I would be afraid to cook for my grandmother, however, I would love to – she’d tell me how to do it perfectly. She knows everything as she has lived a life long before me.
Menu Ideas: Friday 29th/ Saturday 30th January 2010
On Saturday 30th January, we will be really pleased and honoured to welcome Daniel and Lesley Walsh (Parents of tomeats) and their friends to our humble restaurant. And hope that they will experience lovely Vietnamese cuisine as taught by my mother and her family.