Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hankering and Deliverance

For the first 6 months of this pregnancy, I struggled to muster a tolerance for cooking meat. Not only did I not want to cook it, I had no desire to be within a kilometre radius of anyone who did. Consequently, I often directed grimaces at the general neighbourhood when I got out of our car, to the smell of good ol' kiwi dinners cooking, before scurrying inside.

I did not stop liking cooked meat. No siree.

While on assignment to clean the chapel with another couple, I let them know I presently had a real hankering for Chop Suey - but that this dinner would require cooking steak, ooooooor Haki cooking steak...and fumigating our house. Both scenarios were reading "unlikely" on the happening scale. While discussing my current "need", we all agreed perhaps I should take advantage of one of our Samoan sisters at church on Sunday, "So nice to see you...yes, baby is doing fine thanks, althooooough, hang on, I'm getting something (holding my hand to my stomach), she could do with some Chop Suey." The woman loves to give out candy without encouragement, surely a request from the womb would warrant some spoilage.

I went home contemplating this possibility. In the kitchen, I leaned on the counter staring at the bean thread noodles and soy sauce on the shelf. They beckoned to me. Maybe I could make it without meat? I shook it off. Sunday...I would secure my fix Sunday.

Sunday came, and an alternative opportunity presented itself. A friend, Darcy, caught me in the hall, and enthusiastically extended an invitation; "You and Haki need to come for dinner! How's next Sunday?"

Me: "Next Sunday is great!"

Darcy: "What do you want for dinner?"

Me: (answering far too quickly) "Chop Suey."

Bless him, for the man had not made Chop Suey before, and he dutifully did his research, and prepared a delicious meal.

Now, please let me emphasise here, his meal was delicious. I had three servings. I thought I was going to vomit - not from the usual nausea, but from overindulgence. This did not prevent me from also taking multiple servings of dessert. The afternoon was divine.

Sadly, my hankering had not been dismissed.

It was then that I realised - I had not been craving Chop Suey! I had been craving my childhood experience of a specific Chop Suey - that made by a Samoan man's wife, Sharon, who now lives far north.

In pursuing the recipe via my mother, I learned it would be complicated to obtain.

Another week passed. I was slowly regaining the ability to cook meat, and was thinking regularly about how I wish I could make Sharon's Chop Suey. Every recipe I found online failed to resemble the ingredients I recalled went into her's.

Then the blessed day came.

I was sorting through our possessions while I packed, and I came upon one of my Personal Progress projects. For one of my goals I had solicited and gathered favourite recipes from all of the families in my branch; typed them up in matching format, organised and illustrated them, and produced a branch cookbook for distribution. I screwed my nose up at some of the drawings I'd done then as I turned through its leaves. Upon reflection, I'm surprised how long it took to occur to me. I scrambled to find the "Dinners and Dishes" section (what kind of title is that?), and there it was - the proverbial golden goose egg. Sharon's Chop Suey.

Bless the Personal Progress programme and my early development of CNP-driven observance of it.

I went, I found, I cooked, I conquered.

It was magnificent.

You too can enjoy the wondrous, fiercely-pursued, pounced-upon dish of church pot-lucks of my youth - the blessed recipe is here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails