THE SHORT VERSION:
The concept of Savoring Fiji started five years ago and had snow-balled into a dream put on-hold over and over again. Over the last several years, life has been filled with significant milestones, (career, marriage, home-owner life) and the biggest; becoming a mother of my two girls (½ indo-fijian & ½ colombian) Mila Rey (three) and Priya Jai ( six months), also a step-mom to Atiana (thirteen).
As a mom, I naturally began to reflect on who I am and the relationship I had with my own mother who passed away when I was thirteen years old. The memories my mother helped cultivate and the values she instilled in me are forever a part of me, however her passing closed the gateway to celebrating my indo-fijian heritage and culture. This blog is my journey as an Indo-Fijian American, married to a Colombian, raising three daughters – connecting culture + history by way of food.
THE LONG VERSION:
As a second generation American my childhood revolved around assimilation with notions of staying connected to my culture. My mother enrolled me into ‘Hindi’ school, where I learned how to read and write in Hindi. I also participated Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance) classes with my older sister, on top of various on-going activities and celebrations with local Indians. My mother was the matriarch of our family, she led the charge of keeping my generation of family members grounded in our roots. When I lost her, I lost most of that. My father worked hard to keep our household running, he worked around the clock and still came home and cooked every single night. There wasn’t time for Hindi school or dance classes. It was about survival. Work, school and getting by with the biggest pieces of our hearts missing. As I started my own family and entered into my thirties, there were so many unanswered questions about who we were, where we came from and how we got here, that are left unanswered. I hope to answer many of those questions during my venture with this blog.
When I almost lost my father several years ago, I recognized the importance of preserving my culture for my growing family and my mission for Savoring Fiji became even more significant. There was a moment where I thought I may never taste a meal of my parents ever again and that alone felt earth-shattering. My father was always my mom’s sous-chef, and when she passed, I took the role of my father’s sous-chef. My mom was an amazing cook. I remember every weekend was an adventure through the aromas of her meals. She cooked for everyone and no matter how many visitors we had, there was always enough food, and of course, visitors could never leave without eating. I can’t say my father perfected her dishes, in fact there are still some dishes that we’ve never had again because we just don’t know her secrets, but my dad did the best he could to teach himself our family recipes. These are recipes that I plan to learn and share with you.
I am not a chef, I can’t even say that I’m an experienced cook. What I can tell you is that this blog is my own journey of learning indo-fijian culture through our family recipes.
I’m excited for us to get to know one another!