Today, we went to Chris’s mom’s sister’s home for lunch to see her, her husband, their sons, and their son’s wife, plus their corgi. Going to their home is a bit of a good and an annoying thing: it’s good because they usually make delicious food and have a beautiful backyard with lots of fruits, vegetables and flowers growing; it’s annoying because the sister and husband can be a bit too stiff and formal, and it’s always dark in their home. Chris likes to complain that his parents don’t keep the shades open when he’s home and that he needs natural light; well, at this house, the shades ALWAYS seem to be completely drawn regardless of how sunny or grey it may be outside. On top of that, if we want to call my parents’ house or Chris’s parents’ house full of clutter, this house is on the opposite end of the spectrum: there is pretty much nothing hanging on any wall; no adornments are on any tables, countertops, or surfaces; literally nothing that resembles anything decorative, even a single picture frame, has ever, ever been up when I have come to visit. Sometimes, I wonder if this family is on the run from whatever the Australian equivalent of the CIA is and wants to escape at a moment’s notice, and perhaps that’s why their home is so bare bones. If you walked in, you’d think this was some rental property where nomads came and went, not where a real family lived their day-to-day lives.
The one thing that struck me about this visit, though, other than the delicious food overall, was the shrimp curry that the dad made. The curry was absolutely delicious; it was a deep, dark, brownish-red color, spicy, well seasoned, and so, so good, especially with the appams that he made. The shrimp was a bit overcooked and rubbery, though, which seemed uncharacteristic of Chris’s uncle, who was a very particular cook and relished different techniques and being very precise. I remarked to Chris’s aunt how good the shrimp curry was, and she said she was happy I liked it: her husband was actually allergic to shrimp and could not eat it, but he insisted on making it for special occasions because both their sons loved it so much. Because he was allergic, he could never taste test or try the shrimp himself, but he always hoped for the best.
I was really touched when I heard this. Chris’s aunt and uncle are of my parents’ generation. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine my dad doing this same thing for Ed or me. If he couldn’t eat it himself or didn’t care for something, there’s really no way he’d ever make it for us. But I suppose this is how Chris’s uncle shows his love through actions for his sons.