The Little Blue Kitchen

I know I can always return to my grandmother’s kitchen to bring us that little bit closer.

Art by Rue Metzger.

Growing up as a Chinese kid in Australia, I didn’t have many memories to cling onto from my own culture — but if it was one souvenir that became my ticket back home, it was my grandmother, ‘lao lao’ (姥姥) and her modest recipe of soup noodles. The soup base certainly had no secrets, only consisting of soy sauce, and the smell of fried shallots and onions. Not even the noodles themselves were special, in fact, it usually was whatever we could find amongst our collection of pickled vegetables (usually cabbage) and the odd jar of lao gan ma. Perhaps the beauty was in the simplicity of the food as another way of saying “I care for you”, because my grandmother always miraculously brought a steaming bowl of noodles to me from her little blue kitchen when I was upset. Though we may be separated by a giant ocean and a couple hundred kilometres, I know I can always return to my grandmother’s kitchen to bring us that little bit closer.