Craving for my mother’s old potato stew

Born and raised in the countryside in Tho Ha ancient village, eating corn, potatoes, and cassava is very common, if not, these dishes often replace rice in poverty-stricken conditions. There are families who run out of rice, all family members with just a jar of corn, or a pot of boiled potatoes, will pass the meal. My family has a lot of land, so in addition to the low-lying fields used for rice cultivation, the tall fields my mother often use to cultivate cassava, potatoes or corn. Sweet potatoes are easy to grow, easy to live and give high yields, so my family grows about three or four sao every year. As a winter crop, sweet potatoes are planted around August, September of the lunar calendar and harvested on the occasion of Tet every year.

In the harvest season in Tho Ha ancient village, potatoes are piled up in the corner of the house, filled under the bed, under the bed, used to eat gradually for many months. I still remember vividly that day, every January and February, my mother would wake up early in the morning to stew a large pot of sweet potatoes for the whole family to have breakfast. Boiled sweet potato with melted honey, attractive aroma. Unlike when the potatoes were freshly dug, they ate until they blocked their necks, and when they were sweet, everyone wanted to eat them even though they were full.

I’m very fond of sweet potatoes, so every morning after I’m full, I still “kept” a few large tubers, wrapped them in newspaper, and put them in my school bag, so that when I’m hungry, I eat more. When there are many potatoes in the house, my mother still cooks a lot for everyone to enjoy. But when the piles of potatoes were almost exhausted, my mother saved, boiled less, and a few tubers per person was enough. As a child, our brothers and sisters just innocently ate freely without paying attention to whether their parents had eaten, sometimes leaving only a few tiny tubers. Many times, both mom and dad didn’t have any potatoes to eat for breakfast. Now that I think about it, I see why I was so careless that day and didn’t remember to give the part to my parents…

Having lived in the city for a few years, sometimes seeing people in the province go to the city to sell baked sweet potatoes and boiled sweet potatoes for a living, I remember a time of poverty in my family in Tho Ha ancient village. Too busy to crave, I stopped in to buy some potatoes to eat, but somehow the potatoes can’t be as delicious as the old stewed potatoes.

Tho Ha ancient village has now been urbanized, and the fields for growing corn and potatoes have become industrial zones this year. Even if you want a pot of sweet, rustic and simple sweet potato stew like your mother’s every year, it is not easy, not as available as when you take potatoes from under the bed to boil anymore. However, every time I return to my hometown, I still follow my mother to the market and ask her to buy potatoes and stew a pot for the family to eat together and find some memories of an unforgettable childhood…

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