Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kangkong (swamp cabbage) and I

When I was in college, my family was in great struggle. It was 1970 and economy was very low. I am the second to the eldest in the family with eight children, with a gap of 2 years or less, so you just can imagine how close our ages are.

To feed the family of 10 including my parents, was a great burden for my father. His salary went to our tuition fees first and what ever was left, was for the food on the table. My mother learned dressmaking to help my father in whatever way she could.

And so, our food consist mostly of rice and fish. Fish boiled in tomatoes with kangkong tops. It was delicious. It was always like that, as far as I can remember.

So we will not run out of kangkong, my father built at the side of our house a big garden of kangkong. At that time, I was around 16 or 17 years old. When it was time to cook for our meal, my mother will asked me to pick kangkong tops.

At that time I have a crush who live next to our house. I was ashamed because I was sure he will see me again picking kangkong, and I have been picking the thing everyday.

We seldom have meat in our meals. If we do, it has to be boiled with plenty of water as soup, because a kilo of pork was not enough for us. The thing was, I can smell the fried pork of our neighbors, while I was cooking our fish with kangkong. You can just imagine how hungry I felt at those times.

Little did I know, that the kangkong in our everyday meal was a blessing in disguise.

My father is still alive at 80, thanks be to God. Although my mother died at the age of 68, I know it was just of too much stress in her life. We, the eight children are still enjoying our father, and I pray that we will live longer with our father beside us.

And so, eat kangkong, you will live longer.