July 9, 2015

Sibu Tales : Mother-in-law's Favourite Dish

When I was teaching in Sibu, many women tend to talk about their mothers-in-law and usually quite negatively.

They usually related how difficult it was to serve food properly without being criticized.

But I was most impressed by one lady who told a special ancient story, about one of her ancestors in China:

"There was once a mother in law who liked keng chai or salted vegetables very much. One day she would ask for geng chai and beef soup and another day she would ask for geng chai fried with belly pork.Image may contain: food

And her daughter in law would tell every one how good her cooking was. She would tell people about all the dishes she cooked for her mother in law.

And she even told people how well she managed her difficult mother in law with this tale :The daughter in law got rather tired of her mother in law's whims and fancies.  Every now and then, she would ask her mother in law to leave her  house and eat at the house of another son. It sort of worked for a while.she would send her pot of geng chai and beef soup at about lunch time. Her brother in law was very frugal and he would dilute the soup so that they would have the soup twice in one day. Do you know? This mother in law would beam and said the soup was excellent!!"

" Now there was another time when this daughter in law sent a pot of belly pork fried with geng chai to her other sister in law's house. She also sent a chicken cooked with special herbs. Her mother in law said the two dishes were very good.And she came home very happy. But after staying a week or so, she started complaining about her cooking. The daughter in law often cried out because she had such bad fortune having such a bad mother in law...."

But several years later, the mother in law and her relatives got together pulled the daughter in law to have a public magistrate hearing . In fact according to the magistrate, this daughter in law never cooked properly and she would just throw in some pork bones to cook soup every day."

Moral of the story : never tell people how well you can cook for your mother in law. One day your mother in law will tell the truth.

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