The secret of silence

When I was a child in Tho Ha ancient village, for me, the smell of Tet was always the smell of ginger, the smell of warmth and the secret of silence. Around mid-December, my mother began to squirm from the large bowl to the small one, from boiling to boiling and draining… and finally the sugar water slug; all the ginger and then squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes… I never knew the days of the last month of that year, sitting alone at night, turning pieces of jam, what did my mother think? Out of jam, then cake. Green beans, buns, cakes… I have to put in so much love for my mother to be able to do so much work, in silence, without complaining to my children whether they help or not.

In December in Tho Ha ancient village, my mother poured out bamboo shoots and soaked them in water. The pieces of bamboo shoots are plump, short, finger-sized, and must not have eyes on the back. Bamboo shoots must meet the requirements so that reheating is still soft, crispy, and not disintegrating. My mother said that bamboo shoot stew is a process of measuring patience and hard work. Boil, drain, then boil and drain… Before boiling, each piece of bamboo shoots must be washed. The process that there is no book to teach how long it takes but is completely based on experience. Maybe it was the experience from the old year or many years ago, not excluding the experience from my grandmother’s time. How can I forget the figure of a mother sitting quietly under the small light of each piece of bamboo shoots in the late nights when her children are studying or going to bed.

My father used to be a person who loved to treat in Tho Ha ancient village. With a thin, medium-sized body, he couldn’t eat much, but he liked that my mother did many things, partly for his gratitude, partly for him to invite friends. And like that, my mother also made many things such as spring rolls, spring rolls… Depending on the generous husband’s request. The food for Tet holiday gradually dwindled, but perhaps, due to increasing age, my mother became more and more lazy and later my father also gradually reduced the allowance until the day he passed away, my mother stopped the big pots, small pots, jam pans, cakes… Remembering the old New Year, my mother used to click her tongue, dozens of kilograms of sugar, dozens of pounds of meat, and still don’t remember to buy everything. Now I can’t do it even if I want to, baby!

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