Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Endings and Beginnings

It seems extraordinary to start writing again,  a little over one year later from when I started the charity suppers, almost like a flash forward in to the future.

Since the first supper I have successfully held four more charity suppers.  With each supper I have gained a little more confidence with my cooking.  I can make a dish without too much panic and am happy in the knowledge that I have encompassed the flavours of Vietnam, the best I can.  I have even managed to be more organised with the budget and quantities.  For someone who failed Mathematics so spectacularly, at school, this is quite an achievement.  However, make no mistake I am not an expert or a 'foodie' even, as is the current popular term.  I had strived to make some kind of connection with who I might have been culturally.  The ability to cook some Vietnamese dishes has not made me feel anymore Vietnamese.  I am still standing in the shade there and must accept that.

I always say my last supper club was my favourite.  They are favourites for all sorts of reasons, the dishes went out on time and plates return empty, the wonderful comradery in the kitchen with friends who volunteer their time for me and most especially our diners.  Who by the by the simple act of attending the suppers touches me.  However, my favourite supper to date, really was the one we held in last September.

The fifth supper club was dedicated to a particularly special cause, I feel.  We committed ourselves to raising funds for Operation Reunite.  An organisation which has been set up by a fellow adoptee and ..'is the vision to reconnecting mothers, adoptees and possibly birth fathers with the past by using a DNA database' .   The DNA test kits are expensive, even by western standards, so the money we raised was donated to the birth parents and families, to enable them to have a chance to be on this important register.  It was incredibly heartwarming to have raised enough money to buy 6 test kits.

There will be no more supper clubs this year and only one more to be held for entire project.  I feel a little sad about that, as I miss the build up to the event.   I will also bizarrely miss the feeling of fear I experience, just as I hear the diners arriving.  I have discovered I do love cooking Vietnamese food.  I love it, but still can't shake the feeling it isn't authentic.  May be that feeling will never truly leave me.  We are all saddled with some insecurity or a feeling that we have lost out on something,  but as difficult as it may seem you can only look forward to the future.   With that in mind I have started to teach my daughter how to cook.  My daughter has a natural gift for cooking and despite my tendency to be impatient with my children, there is a sweet joy in our time together in the kitchen touched with the irony that she is incredibly fussy and will not try the food she has made.

So, I plan to finish up the charity suppers with a bang and what could be more perfect timing than to finish in the month of TET 2014.  Vietnamese New Year.

Thank you friends old and new

Beautiful little menus and place cards by Lucy Loveheart

Chilli & Lime garnish and dipping sauces

Pho Bo/Beef Noodle soup

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