Mama Ann’s Cooking

Growing up in a very diverse community, I have tasted and tried so many different foods. My family is Vietnamese and French, but the cuisine on daily is Vietnamese. Then Spanish spices were introduced into the family by marriage. We live in Florida USA, so add some southern styles and islands spices from friends. Mealtime at my place is truly a cultural experience.

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When I was little, Sunday Supper was a big thing. Everyone would cook a dish and gather at my Mama’s house. She was the cook of the family, and she cooks with her emotions. You can tell when she is happy or sad just by eating her food, like the movie “Like Water for Chocolate.” So we tried to keep her happy. She is known for her Pho, Banh Xeo, Mi Quang Nam Vang, Bun Rieu, and Korean BBQ.

Sunday Supper is not the same anymore. We’re forgetting that family time is important because everyone is so busy with their lives. Culture and traditions are just slowly fading away. Anyone can buy dinner, but the best meals are the ones you make with your family.

I do my best to keep traditions going. We keep Sunday Supper alive at my house. It’s not all about cooking, it’s spending time with my Mama and catching up on gossip. Every time we cook, we both learn something new about the ingredients or a story behind the dish.

My Mama does most of the storytelling. She tells stories of when she was a little girl on the farm or the times she learned to cook something. We talk about how hard things were when she was young, and how having meat in a dish was rare. She can remember the days when she went hungry as a child, and she’s thankful to have plenty to eat now. She always says the most important ingredient in cooking is love.