Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Tuesday, May 03, 2005
I was able to bloghop again after a long self-imposed break. Before the giddy-giddy fly struck, I was able to visit a few blogs.

I caught Mama's Legacy on Elisa's blog. Elisa wrote on food that I am very familiar with. Do not be confused by the word "legacy" though because I am pleased to announce that Elisa's mama is still very much around in body and in spirit.

The other blog that I visited was Bunn's. She was recollecting her childhood days and it was nice to read. Too bad I could not leave a comment because my Xanga account has expired. To register again is such a hassle - just for a comment.

Both blogs made something registered in my mind, which is a rare thing, considering how porous my mind is. I thought of memorable meals during my childhood. I had many because, then, I had a good appetite and I still have my memory.

My most memorable meal was in the middle of the monsoon in Merang, Terengganu. I was about 12 years old and was visiting my maternal grandmother. I remembered fishing in the mengabang where Aryani Resort is now. We did not get any fish and Nek (my grandmother) wanted to go home and catch a chicken for lunch and dinner. At that time, Merang was as good as cut off from the rest of the world. No fresh fish or vegetable was available. You either have dried fish or kill a chicken, if you keep any.

When the rain stopped, we walked back home. On the way, we stopped at Tok Teh Soh's house. Tok Teh Soh is Nek's cousin. I am not sure what he did for a living. Whatever it was, it sure didn't bring any money because anyone can see that Tok Teh is very poor. If there was a program for the Hardcore Poor then, his name would be on top of the list. But I liked Tok Teh because although he didn't talk much, I can feel that he loved me very much. Tok Teh would fascinate any boy. He had little balls on his face and body. They were not warts but I didnt know what they were. I still don't. My dad jokingly told me that they were buckshots although they were too big to be those.

Tok Teh told my grandma to go home because Kustamang (what he called me) would be having lunch with him. He then told Tok Noh, his wife to cook rice. He then asked me to follow him into the field in front of his house. He peeled apart the tall grasses looking for a special kind of grass. I thought it was the same grass that we used to clean our papan slet (chalk board). He got a handful and brought it home and gave it to his wife. We then sat on his well-worn mengkuang mat so that his floor, made of round saplings called anak kuat didn't bite our backside too much.

Not long after Tok Noh came out with steaming rice. Inside the periok (rice pot), she steamed the grass and a few green chillis. The only lauk was a dish of budu with a bit of freshly grated coconut inside. The grass was dipped in the budu and then smothered with steaming rice. It was delicious. It could be the monsoon that perked up my appetite. It could be the sincerity and the love that this old couple served with that ultra simple meal. Whatever it was, it was memorable and I was grateful.