Growing up in a large family consisting of strong personalities, food was often the glue that kept us all together. I can remember many sibling arguments being resolved over bowls of pho noodle soup. My mom's philosophy was sneakily simple: keep the peace by keeping our mouths full of food. And what food! My mom is one of those natural cooks that can make a feast out of humble ingredients, adding a pinch of this or a palm full of that to a pot and having it turn out delicious. One of my goals in life is to be more of an intuitive cook like her. I know that this will take years of practice and experimentation. There will be some hits and lots of misses. But I am slowly gaining confidence every day, even creating a personal collection of recipes of my own. Some are all mine, but most are modifications of recipes collected over the years from treasured cookbooks and more recently, talented food bloggers. To make it easier to reference these recipes, I have started writing them down in a series of notebooks.
I hope to one day hand these over to my son so that he can recreate the foods of his childhood. And when my mom comes back from her annual six months vacation in Vietnam, I am going to ask her to write down what a pinch of this and a palm full of that means.