Soup of memories

One day, when I went to my friend’s house to play in Tho Ha ancient village, when I saw my three friends bring a bowl of soup, I was so surprised. That soup, I thought only my father knew how to make, was a temporary countermeasure for the meal when my mother was away. I found out that, just like my father, my uncle cooks when my aunt is on a business trip. This dish is easy to cook, quick and delicious. Uncle jokingly called this a man’s soup, fighting fires when being lazy. Admittedly, this dish is easy to make. Just choose ripe bananas, cut into small pieces, put them in a bowl, add boiling water, and that’s it. Those who are a little fussy can add spices and green onions to make it more rich and give the rice more flavor. It took about five minutes for the food to arrive, that’s fast, but I’m not sure if it’s delicious. I have never tried it, just found it strange, how can bananas be used to cook soup.

In Tho Ha ancient village, bananas as food is not a special thing. There are many delicious dishes made from bananas, all of which are delicious and have a distinctive aroma. Banana ice cream, sweet banana cake every child loves, banana beef cake, banana cake, water banana cake, each taste is delicious. Bananas are baked or wrapped in sticky rice into a dish of grilled bananas with coconut milk. Raw bananas also participate in the meal, to be dipped with braised fish and braised meat, the acrid taste makes the salty dish even sharper. Only banana soup that I have not heard of, only seen two people cooking, is my father and three of my friends. When the meal was ready, he invited me to have a meal together, a bit hesitant because the meal was simply a pot of dry braised fish, a few raw vegetables, and a bowl of banana soup on the table that was still smoking. Somehow I agreed, perhaps I was curious about the taste of this strange dish.

I ate slowly, thinking the soup would taste weird. But no, the taste is quite pleasant, sweet and warm, fragrant with banana. Uncle did not add anything, only ripe bananas and boiling water, making the dish more tender, like a memory both familiar and strange. Due to the light and sweet taste, it is very suitable to eat with white rice along with salty and peppery dried fish. It makes the fish less grumpy, the rice easier to eat, because it seems that the taste is soothed after the spicy and greasy meals. Uncle told me, now few people eat such simple dishes. But back then, banana soup appeared a lot on the rice tray in Tho Ha ancient village, because of its convenience and delicious bananas in this country. Gradually, people seem to have forgotten about it. Unexpectedly, a common dish would become strange, even strange in the eyes of many people. There seems to be a gap between the two generations, making the food separate, and the sharing divided as if someone built a dam to separate the river of time. Or like since there was a bridge across the river, the boat has become redundant, covered with forgotten colors…

I thought for a moment, I never asked my father about these things. I also have never eaten with three banana soup to know how it tastes, to know why it became it. Memories are sometimes just half-closed waiting for me to discover, but I thought they were closed and locked, I refused. I wonder, if I go home and cook three bowls of banana soup, what will the conversation be like?

Does Dad tell me stories about his youth, so that I know what the two generations are different from and what’s compatible. Dad has dusted off time, showing me the hidden beauty, so that I know it turned out to be an interesting time and many things I have not experienced. I guess the conversation will be easy. Like this banana soup, I thought it was an ungainly combination, but in fact they bonded from the start. The connecting wires are still there, no matter where they break, I just can’t see them. Men’s soup – sounds stiff and clumsy just by looking, but when you taste it and listen, there’s a lot to be known about…

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