My Second Aunt’s Peppermint Chicken

A dish, made, with a TON of love, translated…

Mom called to ask, if I wanted some peppermint?  “Of course!”, I’d hung up my cell, and, my second aunt came to my mind.

Mom has two older sisters, the closest was my second aunt.  My second aunt married off close to my grandmother’s house, and lived their lives, as hardworking farmers with my second uncle, she’d often used the spare time she had after work, and carried bags and bags of homegrown produces, rode the night trains up to Taipei; her appearances would always cause all of us to holler so loudly, and, those homegrown fruits and vegetables had helped save a lot of money for my parents, who aren’t really that well-to-do.

薄荷雞 的圖片結果marinating the chicken in mint…phoot from online…

One summer, mom took me home to visit when I was in the elementary years, I’d wandered around, there were, fowls kept at the front of the field.  And, suddenly, a red-faced duck came toward me, half-crazed, bit down tightly on my skirt, I was so thrilled I’d started crying loudly.  At which time, my second aunt came out of the kitchens with her cooking spatula, and “shooed” off the ducks, at the same time, trying hard, to comfort me who was already, flustered and freaked out.

The aromatic scents came from the house, it’d, made me forget about the scare I just had.  “So aromatic, what are you cooking, second aunt?”  “I’m making peppermint chicken for you guys”.  I’d entered into the kitchen, saw an assortment of yummy dishes, on the tables, it’d made me, drool.  Her way of showing us the hospitality was, kept getting the foods from the plates, into our bowls.  I’d smiled and told her, “Enough, I can’t even see the rice underneath now!”, my second aunt told me, all of these, are simple and plain dishes.

Later, I’d learned that it takes a lot of preparation, to make a peppermint chicken.  Once we’d arrived at my second aunt’s early, my uncle said, “Your aunt went to harvest some mints at the fields, she should be returning soon.”, a short while later, my second aunt came in, with two large bags of mint, seeing us, she’d, swiftly, picked enough mints and washed the leaves, and, killed a rooster swiftly, and, set up the stoves, to start cooking the garlics, the chives, then, started, stir-frying the mints.

My second aunt salted the entire rooster, then, stuffed the rooster’s inside full of the stir-fried mints, then, she’d, started, cooking the rooster.  As the fire crackled on, she’d kept turning the chicken, to prevent it from burning, she’d become like an octopus, working on other dishes as well.  As the crispy mint chicken was plated and served, I couldn’t help, but get the mints out of the stuffing, and stuffed them into my mouth, and, it was sweeter as I chewed.  My second aunt immediately ripped off one leg, placed it inside my bowl, with love flowing from her eyes.

媽媽打電話來,問我要不要薄荷草?「當然要啊。」放下手機,我不由得想起二姨。 圖/...illustration from the papers…

After I married, I’d lived closer to my mother’s home, every time as she was going to visit my second aunt, she’d always called me up, “Your second aunt asked me if she needs to make the mint rooster, she’ll make one for you.”  “Of course,” I’d exclaimed excitedly.

Many years later, I’d not felt right, troubling my aging aunt, I’d said, “just the mints would be fine”, I’d cooked by my aunt’s methods, but, I could, never quite make the mint chicken like she was able to.

This day, I’d recalled my second aunt, working in and out of the kitchens, I’d, lifted my head toward the skies, said to my second aunt, “Thanks for making your, amazing mint chicken for us!”

Because this family member had, prepared the food with such great care and love, that, was why those who were served it, loved it, and, this is probably why, the writer couldn’t quite, make the same dish like her aunt had, because, her aunt had, cooked with care, concern, and love with them in her mind…

A Cage, that Set You Free

You were placed, in a cage, kept, behind these, steel bars, and, it’d, set you free surprisingly.  Being locked up, it helped set your life BACK into perspective, you’d done, so many evil things, to hurt some unknown strangers, as those who loved you, and cared for you too, for a very long time.

A cage, that set you free, you’d waited, a long, long time, for the day, that a hand from the outside to come, to reach toward that latch, that’ll, unlock, and set you free, but, as the day grew longer, longer, and longer, you’d felt, more, and more, AND more despair, ‘cuz the hand, it’d, never come.

not my photograph…in love's cage 的圖片結果

A cage, that set you free, how can you be set free, locked, inside this cage of your mind, huh?  A cage, that set you free, how?  Cages are supposed to, keep you bound, right?  So, how come now, you’d locked me up with this love of yours, and, I still feel, so free???

A cage, that set you free, that, is what love became, you’re, willing to, let love lock you up, and yet, as you’re, bound by these, handcuffs of love, shackles and chains too, you feel, so free that you could, fly, high as an eagle!  How’s that possible, huh???

with the key, out of your grasp…not my artwork…




Dreaming Together, a Poem

Finding the love you thought you’d lost again, translated…

Back Then, Promises Were, Easy

We Were, Prone to Make Them, Using Caffeine

Before We Parted

like this?  Not my photo…

We’d, Rummaged Through Both Our Coins

Selected Our Separate, Flavors of, Insomnia

Savoring What We’d, Shared in This Night

Then, We’d, Made Our Date

how it feels…not my picture…

There’s, that scent of, how these two people were still, connected, even as they’d parted ways, and, because love was still intact, that they’d either, grown or changed, so, they’d, split up, and after they split, and lived separately for a short while, they’d, decided, that they were, supposed to be together after all.  Reestablishing that lost love is what this is about, and sometimes, it’s, not as easy as making that connection again.











The Final Gift

Thoughts of missing you, how this woman passed the love she’d received from her grandmother, to her own young, translated…

“Grandma is dying, waiting for you to get married…”, I’d looked at my child, who’s no more than ten days old, and, those last words you’d spoken to me resonated in my mind.

I’d recalled that one-hundred days after your death, I sat on that chair covered in spots, and thought about how you were always, crying in those final years of your life.  Although you’d forgotten, what had happened to you for the parts of your life already, but you’d always remembered me, your youngest granddaughter, whom you had, helped raised up, as you heard my name, you’d started, grinning, ear to ear.

the gift of love 的圖片結果the gift of love…photo from online…

Then, the memories, they took me over, during kindergarten, I looked forward most to the time when you’d, picked me up from school, then, carrying me on your back, humming, all the way home; and, having you tell those tales that I can already recite forwards AND backwards, and when I didn’t have that, I’d found it hard, to fall asleep; whenever you’re there, I’d, needed you, to feed me; and you’d hated it so, that your youngest granddaughter was so very cute, and people kept telling you, how much I resembled you.

You’d looked after me in my childhood years well, and, I’d blamed myself, for not helping you wipe away those tears you’d, cried.

A short while ago, as I was cleaning up our shared home, I’d discovered in shock, that your health insurance card was, in the closet above my bed, thank you, for this last gift.  How have you been these couple of years?  Dad and I missed you more and more each and every day, I’d wanted to tell you, that I gave birth, to a child who looked a lot like me, and you too, and, just like the depth of love you’d, shown to me, I too, will love him, like you’d, loved me.

how close they were…not my art…

There’s, no greater way, to honor someone, by passing the love you’d received from the individual to your own young, and, this woman must’ve been really loved by her grandmother, that even after the death of her grandmother, she’d still recalled how much love they’d once shared, and, this woman was more than lucky, to have someone like that, an elder, who’d, loved her, unconditionally in her life, and now, she too will, pass this legacy of love to her own young.

Bringing Me Flowers

Between a husband and a wife, translated…

During that period of time, someone always placed a small vase on my desk at office, with stems of roses.  And, although I didn’t know who my secret admirer was, but, I’d felt warm and fuzzy on the inside, with the scent of the flowers.

back when they were dating…not my photo…

After awhile, finally, the man came forth, he’d asked a child to deliver the flowers to my home.  Don’t know if the child was playing a prank, or that the child was respectable toward the elders, he saw my father who was sitting in the living room, he’d thrown the flowers to my father.  And, I’m guessing, that my serious father must’ve felt so furious back then?  Which dumbass, DARED made a move on his baby girl?

Finally, I’d worn my wedding gown, and took the bouquet from his nervous hands, walked, hand-in-hand with him, into his house.

After we married, he’d often come home late from working overtime.  One night, he’d brought home a huge bouquet to give to me, I’d placed it onto the dinner table, enjoying the view, at which time, my mother-in-law commented on how the flowers were not wrapped up beautifully.  “It’s pretty!”, I was wondering.  But now, I’d understood, sons, don’t bring your wives flowers in front of your mothers, or, give your mothers some flowers too, otherwise, the mothers’ hearts made of glass would surely, shatter easily.

after they’re married…not my photo still…

And after that, he’d become smarter.  One year on my birthday, he’d asked his younger sister-in-law to pick up a big cake, along with a bouquet of flowers, delivered it to my school, it’d made me so happy.  That bouquet of flowers had all of my coworkers feeling envious, a good friend of mine carried the flower, and took a picture, sent it to her husband, told him to learn from it.  And, I’d needed to, blame my husband for not being careful enough, don’t know how hard the couple of days that followed, my younger brother-in-law would have to weather through because of this.

Many years of marriage, there’s, still the habits of giving me the flowers.  Every Valentine’s Day or special occasions, seeing how the younger coworkers were, receiving the flowers, it’d made me, feel awful.  The couple of us felt like abandoned ladies, we’d, made a pact, to give one another flowers on the holidays or on our birthdays, with the card that says, “from a secret admirer”, so we can, boast ourselves a bit, and, take the bouquets home, and make our husbands nervous a bit.

and now…flowers for herself, not my photograph still…

Sometimes, when I’d complained to my husband how I’d not received any flowers from him for so long, he’d stated, “Did I not plant a garden full of flowers for you that bloomed throughout the seasons, cherry blossoms, orchids, camellias, roses, jasmines, lilies…all you can wish for, isn’t it enough?”, surely, the flowers had, bloomed for me, their aromas, for me to whiff too, but, I just, want an unexpected surprise!

That day, he’d plucked some magnolias with the leaves attached, placed them on top of a water-filled bowl, handed them to me, it was, lightly scented, full of zen, I’d carried the bowl and sniffed them again, and again, I’d loved it, but, he’d blurted out, “The magnolias are in full bloom, you’re not doing anything, why don’t you pluck them down, and sell them in the streets?”

I’d given him the eye roll, to remind him, that his wife, is a rose, with the thorns.

So, this, is the fun way they’d, interacted with each other, the husband’s gestures from before, buying the flowers, during their courtship, but as they got married, he’d lost his sense of romance, and the wife wanted him to continue to surprise her, but that, is not how men worked, and so, she and her coworkers started sending flowers to each other on the special occasions, and, this showed, how much men changes, from before to after they married.

No Matter How Busy I Got, I’ll Still Make the Time, to Make a Cup of Coffee for You, on Couple’s Relations

Something they do out of habit, and of love too, translated…

The coffee that’s got the right amount of milk in it is still at its usual place on the tables, loving the coffees, but being lazy, I’d, always used the instants or the drip, and my husband, who’s a great barista couldn’t take it any more, he’d made the coffees every single morn, add in the milk, waited for me to have my cup in the morning with breakfast, then packed another cup for me to go to work with.  These couple of days, we’d had fights, he’d carried his cold shoulders toward me, gave me the silent treatments, and wore his soured face for days, but there was still that cup of warm latte on the tables for me.

like this???  Photo from online…

As I drank, I’d recalled what he’d once told me, “No matter how busy I get, I’d still take the time, to make a cup of coffee for you.”  Because the problems at work, his moods became, heated up some.  As he was out on business trip, he’d counted the days, and brewed the coffees by the days, bottled them up, placed them in the fridge for me, because he knew that when he wasn’t around, I’d, become lazy with the coffees again, but gladly, his trips lasted no more than two to three days at a time.

I’d often complained, that he was an ape in a man’s clothes, without any words of sweetness, that I’d been in this false dream of romance all along.  But he’d not once, said a thing about his aging, and no longer beautiful yellow-faced wife, and never complained, that I’m nothing more than an old lady who couldn’t even manage the house well, he’d still bring me that coffee, to couch where I’d sat, and kept preparing the foods to feed to me.  For many years, I’m sure, that he’d gotten trained in feeding a woman.

What he’d given me, along with what I was able to make, made me into a working woman with two paychecks, he’d also told me calmly, that ape have high intelligence, that he should be able to handle the regular household chores; so other than work, any chores related to the house: cleaning, laundry, cooking, I’d not needed to lift a finger to.  Sometimes when I felt up to it, I’d felt introspective, and thought of his “no matter how busy I get, I will make you a cup of coffee”, that irrational feeling of wanting to start a fight with him, vanished, instantly.

making a cup of coffee for his wife 的圖片結果the first hing in the morning…photo from online…

I’m thinking, that he only had the inarticulate ape mannerism about him, he’s actually, quite gentle, and maybe, the next time, I should, make a cup of coffee of my love?  But, as I thought of how he would react, it’s best, that I continued my, “Honey, one more cup please!”, would be, better!

So, although this man isn’t articulate on expressing the love to his wife verbally, he’d made up for it in more ways than one, he’d taken care of the household chores, and made his wife a cup of coffee in the morning, and, it’s this sort of give and take that makes a marriage work well.  And so WHAT if you can’t say those sweet words, so long as you show that special someone in your lives that you loved her/him, that should be enough…