Whenever my sister asks me what I want to do during my US visit, I say, “Nothing.” Forget all the touristy places, all I really want to do is catch up with family.
In my family, catching up means lingering in the kitchen and exchanging stories over home-made food. Cooking comes second nature to all of us so it is natural that we convene in a place where we are all comfortable in. I find so much joy in watching my siblings prepare their own specialties. I am currently entertained by my brother’s cupcake making skills.
Being in the kitchen is also bittersweet as it makes me wish that my Mom and Dad were here. I can imagine my Mom hovering over everyone’s pot, giving unsolicited culinary advice, while my Dad would pick from all the plates, telling his tall tales. Mom is the original head chef in the family and Dad was always the willing sous chef. I know it made them extremely happy to see everyone gather around food that they’ve made.
So when I’m here, I don’t bother to make plans to go to tourist attractions. Where else can we have the best Filipino food, have the kids run around freely and be as loud as we want to be? The kitchen is all we need to make us feel at home.