There were always a pile of stools at the corner of the dining room, to cater for the 10 noisy chatter grandchildren in the house. Especially during the weekends.
The radio at the corner was playing my grandmother's
favourite radio station. She's always on Chinese station listened to the
old tunes while cooking in the kitchen.
My uncle came into the dining room so frequently as if he's restless waiting for the food in the making. Most of the time, just to open the fridge, checked out if there's food, then closed again. A habit he never got off until today.
My grandfather, always occupied a corner of the long dining table with a deck of cards, playing to himself. Sometimes, my cousin, his favourite grandson kept him company. They played something I never thought I would understand. Not because it's complicated, it simply seems lull to me.
I remember there's always a piece of salted fish in the upper deck of the cabinet in dining room. Had my grandmother hid that away on purpose? I've never asked. But I always tried to reach the top with help of stool and stole a few bites.
As dinner time approached, the dining and kitchen got more crowded. The aunts and my mom helped my Ah Ma out in the kitchen. While us, the chatty little ones chased and teased each other in the crowded dining room. We always ended up shouting.
We're a bunch of easily pleased grandchildren back then. A plate of fried eggs will do. But only Ah Ma's fried egg. It's the best fried egg I've ever tried in my 30 years. None of my mom or aunts managed to duplicate it. But Ah Ma said, it's simply oil, egg and salt, and fried them in wok. She never saw why was it so difficult for them.
I don't understand that either. The golden fried egg, with just so enough oil and salt to keep it fragrant and delicious.
Simple dish is always the most difficult to cook.
So many years have passed, and we're all grown up, we still talked about the fried egg.
My grandmother is old now, she no longer can make us the fried egg. But I think, that plate of fried egg is always the best collective memory we have all had.
Reimagining the layout of the house, the kitchen, the dining room, and the plate of fried eggs for each of us, had made me feel blessed for a wonderful childhood.
A childhood that filled with a plate of fried eggs :)
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