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My Comfort Food

This post is in response to Moira's post on comfort food. After reading that post, and deliberated for just a slight bit whether I should partake in yet another online blog event, I pondered what to write about and somehow, my paternal grandparents popped into my mind. Interestingly, grandparents, in general, seem to be quite often associated with comfort. Perhaps it's their patience and their constant protection against our more-demanding parents.

But in anycase, my comfort food is a simple combination of black, local Sngapore coffee, just sweetened with white sugar, all the better to dip in with a nice thick slab of again, local, long-ish white bread that has been slathered (very) generously with Planta, a local brand of margarine that comes in a metal tin.

I lived together with my paternal grandparents on a farm for the first seven years of my life on earth. I remember my grandfather, a tall and skinny man of very little words, mainly because he spoke Hokkien, a dialect I was not very fluent in. I do not remember him working on the farm as much as I remember him serving me (yes! a lucky girl served by her loving grandpa) breakfast every morning. First, he would brew a pot of thick, traditional butter-roasted coffee, and add heaps of white granulated sugar to sweeten. Then he would pour the entirety into a hot thermos. Sitting on the breakfast table would be a transparent plastic bag containing a loaf of local white bread. The loaf was thickly sliced so each piece seemed to be slouching because it was so soft and also because of the way the loaf was made, slightly longish and rectangular shape, pulling the weight downwards. The top and sides of the loaf would be unevenly shavened becase the bakeries still manually removed the crust. Also somewhere on the table, would be a yellow metal container of Planta, a regional margarine, that has a strong milky taste and ever so soft and spreadable. My grandpa would spread a piece of white bread generously with Planta and hand it to me (no, we farmers don't use plates and fancy cutlery :P). I would take a bite, just to be reminded how wonderfully buttery the Planta was, and how well it complemented a simple white bread. But I would stop there, until a steaming hot little mug of black coffee was placed next, before me. Holding the remaining slice of bread gingerly, I would dip one end into my coffee, long enough to soak through a bite-size portion, then quickly shove the dangerously droopy end of the bread into my little, greedy mouth. Hmm, it was so unbelievably good. Imagine me focusing on eating, just repeating the dipping and eating actions, until all the bread was gone, while no conversation went on between my grandpa and me. But via his making of my breakfast daily, I knew of our strong connection and that, was comforting and reassuring.

It is pretty amazing how I could be eating that every morning yet each day I would still be excited and awaiting for my breakfast. Yep, so that happened every morning until we had to leave the farm for the city. I soon realised how close I had become to my grandpa, through our daily "interaction", when even after making mom replicate all the works (Planta, coffee thermos, bread), it just never felt right. So needless to say, I gave up trying to repeat the works. To me, on one else but grandpa could make eating Planta on white bread and dipped in black coffee, such a gastronomical experience.


Dawn Falcone said…
I really enjoyed your story. You described everything in such great detail. Thanks for sharing it.
Anonymous said…
What a wonderful memory to have...sitting with your grandpa and eating breakfast all those mornings...that's really the most comforting part, isn't it?

Thank you so much for entering your post in the contest; please make sure to check back in the next day or so for the round-up, and next week for the results!

Sue said…
This is such a beautiful story. You told it perfectly.


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