When I come home to my mother’s house, it is the simple things that remind me of home.
She doesn’t live in my childhood home anymore. I don’t have my own ‘room’ here; me and the kids sleep in my sister’s room whenever we come and stay. There is a lot of unspoken tension, and lots of standard-family issues, but there are also things that remind me of being little again.
Things that make my senses spark, my tastebuds come alive with the remembrance of something that made them what they are today.
Things like, a steaming bowl of harira, which is like a Moroccan minestrone soup. It has a tomatoey base, with celery, parsley, onions, ginger. Chickpeas and soft pieces of boiled lamb float in the rich soup, and thin vermicelli pasta pieces with some brown lentils make it a complete meal on its own. Of course, in my family, we have to serve it with parisian, which is what Moroccans call ‘french bread’ – something leftover from the French colonisation of the land. Fresh warm crusty french loaf slathered with a generous layer of salted butter to dip into your bowl of tasty soup. Makes my tummy feel like it’s home.
Things like, although my parents don’t get on anymore, the sound of my parents talking from their bedroom. My dad’s voice low, my mum’s soft, up and down in tone, lulling me to sleep. Then in the middle of the night, the sound of my father snoring rumbling through the entire house, all three floors of it. That too, is the sound of comfort.
Or today for lunch when my mother and three year old son sat together having what she calls ‘dipping egg’, but what is more commonly known as a half boiled egg. Tapping the top, dipping buttered ‘soldiers’ into the thick, golden yolk. My son loved his lunch, he has never had ‘dipping egg’ before, for I have never eaten it since I grew out of childhood. I had an egg of my own, and the taste of the warm yolk on buttered brown toast instantly took me back to my childhood kitchen.
Small little things you never know you missed until they come back into your life again.