My mother never ceases to amaze. I was home last weekend. I badly wanted to pick up the 182 Ringgit parcel my brother had sent me. It was filled with 3 pounds of dried anchovies and one pound of dried shrimp. Precious commodity this far away from Malaysia.
So after the usual chatter, mum lets on that she had been analyzing Moe Amery's signature. Moe Amery is the PC candidate for her riding. Huh? What do you mean, analyzing? My brother had given her a book on handwriting analysis at Christmas. At the time, she looked through the book and set it aside. I didn't think much of it since gifts for mum is a hit and miss kind of thing. One year, my brother got her John Paul II's book for Christmas and she was lukewarm to it. The thing you least expect would become her favourite gift. Apparently, some time between Christmas and last week, mum had become some sort of a handwriting celebrity amongst her friends. She had been busy analyzing her friends signatures and had apparently been quite accurate in her predictions to their personalities.
"Mum, you have to analyze my handwriting,"I said to her as I hastily scribbled a paragraph using a very fine tipped pen and a scrap of paper sitting on the table. She looks at the writing, stops to ponder and say, "you don't live in the past... see how far away from the edge of the page you are?"
"More, more, tell me more," I say to her. She was hesitant. "You can tell me whatever, mum, even the bad bits" I encourage her. I had done some handwriting analysis in my time and knew all about the loops in the o's and about dishonesty, deceit and the like.
"I need to look at it carefully and this will take time. I'll write you a letter instead" said mum and that was the end of the conversation.
The other day, I called my mum because I hadn't spoken to her for ages.
" Mum, " I said, 'You have to tell me how to make that Taucheo beef that you make."
So she proceeds to tell me how its done. But in true mum fashion, she never gives me exact measurements. You have to use stir fry beef. Tenderize the big pieces by chopping it wth the back of a knife. Marinate the beef with dark and light soy sauce. Saute garlic and onions first. Shallots if you have them. Add some taucheo (fermented brown soy beans- Yeo's brand is best) which has been roughly chopped with a knife to macerate the beans . Add beef and sliced up green jalapenos. Lots of it. Balance the flavours with some sugar. The beans are salty so be careful with the salt. Cook till done.
"Mum, what is the origin of this recipe? Is it Nyonya or Eurasian?"
" Naah," she says "It's just my own creation."
I love my mum. I am so afraid of that there where I will never be able to call her up again to ask her for recipes.
Speaking of which... I need to get that Sour Beef recipe from her.... maybe that too, is an experiment. But it was pretty tasty. I reach for the phone and dial- 1-403-293......