Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Nothing to Eat!", the list goes on.....

Back : left - Aunt Pearl Right - my mother
Front : left - Goo Poh , Yuk Ging, Right - Second Aunt.

Cream Crackers from Jacobs were special treats from aunties and grandmothers. They made wonderful gifts and would never be rejected by anyone. Photos from the Internet.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

These custard creams were popular amongst Foochow children . Our favourite way of eating these biscuits when we were young was to take the biscuits apart and lick the sugary cream first,and then dip the two pieces in our tea.

My patenal grandmother had a "wallfull" of biscuits. She had all the "presents or gifts" given to her lined and stacked up a special wall. Whenever she went to visit her relatives, she would bring one tin as a gift. This was the common practice amongst the Foochows in the 50's and 60's. The women of the family would not allow any one to eat the biscuits which had been given as gift, if possible. The biscuits would instead be given away as love gifts to relatives. Those who could afford would of course allow their children to eat, and later they would buy some more biscuits from the shops before they go and visit a relative.

One of the favourite expressions of our previous generation aunties was "Nothing to eat, nothing to offer you when you come to visit me."

The wife of my second paternal uncle who was the epitome of love and care.
Whenever my siblings and I cycled to her house to send a message (in the telephone-less days) she would open all her cupboards and take out all the tins of cookies, sweets and offered to us.She would then spread her goodies on her cold and solid marble table and it would be like Chinese New Year all over again.
When she thought that the table was not having enough after a few minutes, she would then reach out for even more tins to take out. WE also knew that at that time, she would always have fizzy drinks for us. In those days, most Foochow families had fizzy drinks only during the festive seasons. However,b training, we would always share one bottle between us. And iced drinks were really a great treat, especially after we have cycled from the town to Bintang Road where she lived, next to Hin Yu Park.
She oftened continued to say, "Aunty cannot offer you much,nothing to must eat....go on, eat. These are not nice to eat....hope you want to eat them. Are they good to eat? Have some more. Don't be shy."Sometimes when our mother came with us, my mother would say, "That's enough. That's too much on the table. The biscuits will turn soft. Keep them in the tins. Don't take out any more."
As if in reply, she would put even more on the table.When she passed away in her late 80s after living a very fulfilling life, we were very sad and mourned her passing.

Her love for others had seen her through the hard and good times. She had seen the coming of the third generation with great forbearance, stoicism, and loving kindness Furthermore she indeed had been a great relative, and also been the proverbial long suffering wife, the stay-at-home mum,the filial daughter-in-law, the hardworking mother and grandmother, and also mother-in-law.
We loved this aunt of ours to bits. Even if she did not offer us any thing we would have remembered her too always because she was such a good natured person.
And therefore today, the sight of a tin of Jacobs' biscuits would always make me think of this beautiful aunt of mine who had a good heart and the great propensity to love her nephews and nieces.

A glass of water would be enough. Love is not all about what is on the table.

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