Tastes of home, making us miss it so…translated…
The bitter and spicy weed, also known as “hunger weed”, it was a plant that was found in my home in Mingnan, a weed that’s very well grown.
Based off of the name, this medicinal herb was used to cure people of their hardships in life. As the villagers worked too hard, they’d stewed some of the weeds with the pork ribs or the intestines to drink, it would, help them relieve the strains, make them more energetic; as the students buckled down to study, become stuffy in the chest cavities, they can drink it, to reduce that suffocating feeling in their thoracic; when we’d lost our appetite, we can drink it, to make our internal organs start to work. The bitter and spicy weed, after pulling it up out of the ground from the roots, clean it off under water, then, we can cook it immediately, or we can, dry it up under the sun, and store it for future uses too.
the herb, dried for easier storage…photo from online…
Whenever there was an exam in my childhood, I’d only needed to tell my mother I was stressed out from studying, that there’s that stuffiness in my chest, then, she would stew the weed with the pork small intestines for us to drink, the soup was sweet and fresh, and the intestine that was bathed in the weeds became, even more savory.
Later I’d left home, came to Taiwan, I’d never heard, or have anybody seen this sort of a weed again, and, the memories of spicy and bitter weed cooked with the pork parts were, stashed inside of my mind, became a sort of a nostalgia for me. Whenever I’d felt stressed or tired out, my friends in Taiwan told me, that I could have some basils stir-fry it with some eggs. I’d tried it, and, it’d not worked for me. All of a sudden, it’d, dawned on me, if I don’t open up my mind, the basils wouldn’t help me soothe this sort of gloom.
As I returned back home, I’d gone to my older sister’s to stay, he’d plucked a few stems of spicy and bitter weed, with the dews still on it to make that dish I’d savored long ago, I knew, she did it especially for me. Other than my mother, my older sister, who else, will feel awful when we’re in pain or in distress? As I drank that aromatic and hot soup, all of a sudden, I was, overwhelmed with emotion, tears came overflowing.
the processing of the herbs, photo from lonline…
Maybe, it’s because of how these bitter and spicy weeds had the memories of home assigned to them, that it had the love my family and loved ones carried for me, that, was why they were, so healing.
So, this, is how a food had reminded you of home, there’s that certain taste that you had once when you were younger, that has this sort of a strong effect on you, and, it’s still NOT the taste of the dish, it’s the memories you’d, assigned to that dish that’s, made it so powerful!