What would remind you most of your happy childhood?
For me it can only be homemade steamed buns. A whiff of steaming buns or the sight of a huge steamed (without filling) bun would just work that kind of magic on me. And I would be transported back to those special growing up years.
those long ago years when my numerous cousins spent holidays with my maternal grandmother in Sg. Maaw we would have steamed buns for breakfast whenever my grandmother was able to buy a huge sack of flour for my uncle to make steamed buns. We would have a good supper before we went to sleep. Uncle pang Sing would make the huge buns immediately after our 5 p.m. dinner.
That was memorable for me because I would stay next to him and follow every move he made. He would throw the flour from the cotton sack and probably used 5 kilos of flour. The dough would be divided into three huge pieces and steamed in the huge Foochow wraught iron kuali! The smell of steaming buns is unforgettable till today. Kneading was so easy for him because he had the strength of an ox.
Holidays by the river banks of the Rajang were fun. We would swim when the tide was high. We would paddle our small boat across the river or even try bring a few logs home for firewood.
Our playground was the huge Rajang River. Strangely we never met any crocodile. Play time was not determined by the clock but by the sun. Aunty Pang Sing or Grandma would call us to come home for lunch or for dinner. Or it was time for us to help with the farm animals. We were often told that chickens knew how to come home to roost but not us kids.
Each slice would be smeared with a lot of Golden Churn butter from a tin and a few unhealthy teaspoons of white sugar or kaya. The butter dripping from the slice of steamed bun and the melting sugar is the epitome of good comfort food of those long gone days. But today Ican still recreate the nostalgia...But the shadows of my late uncle Pang Sing are still there ...if only I have a Foochow stove.
A nice slice of buttered steam bun. Hot enough for the butter to melt thoroughly. A few bites sent me back to my days with Grandma and Uncle.
A nice pot of tea and a bottle of English marmalade.
"Below is a pork filled bao I reserve for you!" This is a loving statement from a loving relative which I treasure...going to grandmother's place is experiencing love...my aunt or uncle would always say this...."I have kept one bao aside for you...go...eat it...." Love of the highest level....
In our family we would always "save" something good for those who are late for meals. It is our Foochow way of saying "I love you" or expressing our unspoken love. It is hard to say these three words out loud .