The Foochows call small versions, "egg" or "long". So we have kuok long (the little curly fern tops), wo long (small yams),etc. What about waves which are also " hoong long"? The term does sound like "wind eggs".
When we were young, living in Brooke Drive in Sibu, we had a Foochow stove which used fire wood. We had a big kuali for frying and steaming. We also had two other stove tops for boiling of water and for cooking in smaller soup pots. This stove was our beautiful pride for a long time, until my father bought my mother a New World Gas Stove, at second hand, when a British officer returned home.
We were excited each time my father cooked for us using the wood stove. One of the most memorable dish he prepared was small
placed in the hot coals. This was a very traditional way of cooking yams in the fields. When Foochow farmers were working in their fields, their lunch might include a few of these small yams cooked in wood fires they built in their fields, to get rid of mosquitoes,etc.
My father loved experimenting with food and various forms of cooking.
It was good for us to bond with our taciturn dad, who told jokes once in a while, and far apart. We were of the generation when a) we spoke to Dad only when necessary,and always indirectly through mum b) when Dad spoke at meal times, it was only to reprimand or to warn us for certain misdeeds or to pass a moral story c) when dad spoke we could never butt in d) when adults spoke to each other, we had to leave the room and must not even think of eavesdropping.
My father never had to raise his voice or hand. A look from him good enough to make us shiver.
So when he made those small yams and took them out of the fire for us to try, dip into a soy sauce, we felt an unusual closeness to him and felt so loved.
I had wished and dreamed that he would bring us camping, and we would make charcoal cooked yams, cook Kim Guan Siang sausages over the real fire...and then have baked beans...
But then he passed away when we were still too young.
Parents should really take their children out to parks and enjoy some great times together and then these children would grow up and pass these social ways to their children.
Small yams may be a lowly food item, but it means the world to me and my father who grew up respecting his hardworking and frugal father. My father was truly a no frills kind of person. Very basic and very stoical.
He said, "Potato is a potato..you don't have to dress it up. Wo long or small yam is yam, it tastes best when it is put into a fire by itself..."
It is true..a "wo long" time together with family is such a great idea.
Have some wo long time with your children or friends...Have a good day.
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