You would think fish sticks and cream of chicken soup were my childhood staples since I created a blog entry about them. On the contrary, these Memorable Dishes were special treats from my mom when she didn’t have time to make the multiple dishes that comprise every Chinese meal.
In Hong Kong, my mom worked full time and took care of my older brother and me at the time. Most people in Hong Kong do not own a car because it’s fairly expensive to maintain. Plus, the public transit system is amazing. Having said that, my mother still had to travel from one end of of the city to get to work and home by public transit. Everyday she would finish work, go to the market and buy fresh ingredients to cook us dinner. She did that EVERY evening. I don’t know how she did it because I can’t imagine anyone going to the market everyday on top of going to work full time. Not only did she cook us fresh meals every day, she cooked us several dishes including a soup. We always had fish, a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and steamed rice of course.
So every now and then when she was crunched for time, she would take shortcuts like every mom who tries to keep her sanity. When she didn’t have time to get fresh fish, she would bake us frozen fish sticks. I got super excited every time we got to eat this. I know it’s fried and frozen and not particularly healthy. But as a kid, we didn’t know that and it was such a special treat just to have fish sticks!
When she didn’t have enough time to make a soup, she would make a can of cream of chicken soup for us. Cream of mushroom soup either wasn’t available or not as popular as cream of chicken soup in Hong Kong at the time. Of course, I was also super excited about the cream of chicken soup too. My mom didn’t really whisk the soup until it was all smooth and creamy. So the soup would have pockets of creamy chunks which I liked drinking and smashing in my mouth.
This is to all moms out there – give yourself some slack! Don’t stress if you must make your kids frozen and processed foods from time to time. Even my full-time working mom who made dishes from scratch every evening took short cuts when she needed to 🙂