When we think of festivities, besides many other constituents, what really adds flavour to such occasions is food. Traditional food characterised my childhood memories of all festivals celebrated by the family. Wearing the then fashionable middies, pedal push, baggies, jeans with matching shirts, frilly frocks you name it, I have distinctive recollections of running around the house with first cousins, second cousins and sometimes children of family friends and chattering to each other boisterously about the gifts and presents received while the aroma of delicious traditional food stirred pangs of hunger within me and other children who were exhausted from the innumerable games that we could come up on the day. Call me a glutton or not, but I used to look forward to relish my favourite dishes, which sometimes appeared on the dining table only during festivities, and wolf mouthfuls of tasty preparations. Second and third servings were uncommon as no one cared to be modest about their food consumption. Unabashedly and unanimously, guests and hosts enjoyed the traditional food as they were firm in their convictions that the sole purpose of prepared food was to consume them without limitlessly.
Having migrated to Australia in 2003 I prepare food only when I organise social gatherings or am invited to parties where the host expects you to bring a plate with you as is the custom here. Owing to modern lifestyle and full time employment, I succumb to the temptations of the convenience offered by less time consuming methods of food preparation, be it freshly made or frozen food, and sometimes I order take away food when exhaustion claims me or when pending work requires immediate attention such as generating school reports, onscreen marking operations, assessment tasks and exam marking etc. Another occasion when I deliberately indulge in elaborate traditional cooking is during Christmas, New Year, Easter etc. and due to the rarity of this practice I photograph the cooked dishes, once I have laid them on the table, to cherish the memory in a futuristic time.
What I deem disappointing is the lack of enthusiasm shown by modern day children towards traditional food. KFC McDonalds, Dominos, Pizza Hut is good enough on festive occasions even though they frequently consume fast food on several occasions throughout the year. However, I try to revive the concept of traditional food, even though such efforts can be easily counted on fingers, to provide my offspring an ambience of how such occasions are celebrated in his country of origin. Even though unsuccessful in making a huge impact on him, I have succeeded in influencing him to taste the spicy or mild dishes either on the day or the day after so if at all such dishes are served to him he is not entirely clueless about traditional cooking.