I have always thought of my mother as a Supermom. Ever since I could remember, she has had countless life skills under her belt: phenomenal cooking, giving haircuts, knowing what to say in every single situation, becoming almost fluent in two languages, and so many more.
However, the one aspect of my mother that has always stood out to me is her cooking. Despite the fact that I can barely make pasta, my mother has never failed to surprise me with her home cooking––the familiar flavors of my Japanese culture with an occasional Trader Joe’s ingredient.
Of the numerous dishes my mother puts on the table almost every evening, ginger pork has always been a staple in our family since I was a child. This simple dish seemed to find its way in on every situation my family has dealt with, every situation I have dealt with. From the endless hoppings around the country to darker experiences I try to push aside, I always remember the familiar taste and comfort of ginger pork, making its way to the table whenever it could.
I recall my mother making this dish for me after a rough weekend at Nationals with my dance team this year, when we unexpectedly lost to a team we have beat all season. After I got home at 1 a.m.,I sat on the couch and felt really down about the results, the numbers my team and I have been working towards since August. My mother then, instead of comforting me or giving me words of encouragement, simply asked if I was hungry. I, slightly annoyed, said I was. To this, my mother plopped a dish of ginger pork in front of me with some brown tea on the side. The sight of this dish, the smells of soy sauce of ginger, the texture of slightly marinated pork, made me forget for a second about Nationals, about the emotions running through my head. For the first time that weekend, I felt comfort.
My mother’s ginger pork taught me to embrace the continuities in the chaos of everyday life. It made me understand that no matter what I go through in life, whether it be with school or my personal experiences, my mother will always be there at the end of the day helping me through my struggles. The dish gave me hope that life does not always have to be about large accomplishments such as academic awards or trophies. It can also be about the little things––the small moments of comfort and happiness that pop up once in a while.
Now, whenever my mother sets ginger pork on the table, I tuck aside the stress, angst, disappointments, and the uncertainty of my future, all of which has become prominent this past year as a high school junior. My mind simply clears and enjoys the food in front of me: this moment of happiness that will always be a constant in my life.