I always struggle to answer when asked where I’m from. Do I answer the place I was born? The place I’ve been most recently? Where I grew up? The place I’ve spent most of my life? The place my family lives? Where I’m most comfortable? Any of these could be the actual question behind the posed inquiry and my head swims with possible responses. For me, each would get a different reply.
The past decade or so of my life has been spent in a relatively nomadic state. I’ve lived and worked overseas, studied abroad and traveled like a maniac. The idea of ‘home’ has been stretched and expanded to mean more than I’ve ever thought possible. Home is where the heart is, yes, but home is so much more, too. I felt at home when I finally stepped on Icelandic soil after having dreams about the place for many years. Montreal is the home of my mum’s side of the family, as well as many of my closest friends, and though I only lived there for my university years, it feels like home. I lived in Seoul (and have now just returned) for 3 ½ years, and it too has a place in my heart and feels like home. I can’t tell my life story to every person who asks me where I’m from, so I usually come up with one short answer or another.
After a few rushed weeks of fevered packing, random fits of tears and goodbye kisses, I left my home by my mother’s side at The Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York to return to Korea. The Abode is the place I was born, rebelled against and returned to. It is the place I lost my father and found a new meaning to the importance of family. It is the place I found love, lost it, and found it again. Eight peaceful months were spent cooking, eating, writing, photographing, running, loving, breathing, blissing out on nature, watching out for bears, catching up with old loved ones and meeting new loved ones.
As I was staying with my mother for the first time in 10 years, there were a few challenges to overcome. Mainly involving myself not acting like an entitled 12 year old. This is a tough challenge for anyone reorganizing their lives to be closer to their mum. I took it as an opportunity to better my relationship with her. I didn’t always succeed… with the whole not being a grumpy, misunderstood teenager thing, but I tried.
When it came down to saying goodbye, even though I’ve done it countless times before (both to The Abode and to my mum), I found I was only able to remember the good things, the best things. Our connection fills me so much that my eyes start to leak. Home.
So, let the reign of debauchery and hilarity in Korea begin.
By the way, this cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce is perfectly balanced and really pretty. Also, preparing a sauce for a soup makes you feel like you’re on top of things and you know what you’re doing.
Besides, it’s so easy.
Cauliflower Cashew Soup with Curry Yogurt Sauce
For the soup:
- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 7-10 cups chopped roughly)
- 2 ½ cups cashew pieces
- 1 cup chopped potato
- 1 leek, washed and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp fenugreek
- ¼ tsp clove powder
- 1 ½ tbsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- a pinch of paprika
- cooking oil
For the sauce:
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 ½ tsp Indian curry powder
- ¼ tsp salt
Add some cooking oil, the onions and garlic to a large pot on medium high heat. Let brown for 4-5 minutes. Stir intermittently.
Add cauliflower, leek and potato. Cook for 10 minutes.
Pour water in until all vegetables are just covered. Do not put in too much or the soup will be watery. Add cashews and spices.
Let the soup boil for 20-25 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat. Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, salt and curry powder until well incorporated.
Place a dollop of yogurt on top of the soup when ready to serve.
I was listening to a podcast recently, in which the host’s guest used similarly poignant language to yours. He said something like, “We spend the first half of our lives running away from home, and the second half trying to find our way back.”
Love that you featured a recipe for soup here, too. Few things are more comforting, or evoke such a universal feeling of home.
Jacqui, it’s absolutely true. I’ve been noticing the changes within myself recently. Somehow it’s taken me this long to start growing up.
Hi former beautiful neighbor,
I am happy you are continuing tumeric and twine. And love hearing about your return to Seoul.Be well and happy and keep running.
Thank you, Nizam! Keep reading!