Living overseas, I have developed a kind of sixth sense that is part memory - remembering my most treasured moments with her, and part imagination - wishing I'm with her and not being 5000 miles away, which has made me cope being so far away from Mama.
Seemingly common things trigger powerful, pleasant memories. Seeing a bouquet of flowers or orchids in a vase would make memories explode in my mind. Similar to what the narrator felt in Marcel Proust's novel, wherein a bite into a madeleine awakens vivid memories of the past and the happiness associated with it, I am reminded of my childhood days when I wake up and couldn't find my mom in the house. I would then check the garden wherein, sure enough, she is with her orchids doing her morning ritual of "talking" to them. The delicate and stunning orchids in bloom, and even the tiny buds that are just about to bloom, would always bring a bright smile to her face, like she's hypnotized by its beauty ... I would imagine her replanting, regrouping or propagating different plants and flowers, and with the use of nylon stockings, she would tie them around the betel nut trees that surrounded our house.
My mom is not into music or songs but I remember she once told me that when she hears the song "I Know Him So Well" (a hit from the 80's), she remembers the days when I used to play the song on the piano and my sister would belt out the song. So when I heard my flatmate play the song this morning, I was transported back in time, during those hot summer days, in our house in my hometown. Where the glistening wooden walls echoed the sound of the piano... and the chorus of voices singing along with the boisterous laughter. Although I didn't know it then, my mom revealed that it brought so much joy to her heart seeing and hearing her children sing and acting silly....
As I look at the fridge with my leftover spaghetti sauce, boom, I can imagine my mom say: "make some estralladu (omellette)". Yes Ma, look I made eggplant omelet with my leftover pasta sauce like you always did before, only I made my own signature of tweaking the dish and modernizing it.
Thank you for always being there for me, and for the memories that make it possible for me to always be with you... like a time machine to carry me back to you… especially today on Mother’s Day.
EASY MICROWAVE EGGPLANT OMELETTE (TORTANG TALONG)
Left-over spaghetti sauce (if you don't have any leftovers, saute' some ground beef and add tomato sauce then season it with salt and pepper)
4 eggs, beaten
frozen green peas
Grill the eggplants until the skin is burnt like so:
Let it cool. Meanwhile beat the eggs lightly. Add the ground beef or the left-over spaghetti sauce. When the eggplant is cold enough to handle, peel off the skin and give it a light mash. Add the eggplant into the egg mixture.
Using a microwavable poached egg maker, pour the egg mixture on the one side and cover. Microwave it on high for 2 minutes. If it's not yet cooked at this point, microwave it for another minute. Let it stand, Unmold the poached egg maker and voila... you will enjoy your omelette in no time...