“Coming Home Again” by Chang Rae Lee
An adult can only carry memories of their childhood. Knowing it is the past; memories are all you can have left of it. The family and home one is raised in as a child, plays a major part of their character. They are taught values in their home. For Lee, it was his mother that helped him build his character. Sending Lee away to Exeter Boarding school at an early age is something Lee’s mother did to help him shape his character and become successful. During his mother’s last days, Lee realizes some things he never thought to apprehend. There were more similarities than differences between him and his parents.
Coming home from boarding school, Lee watched with his mother being diagnosed for cancer, Lee decided to take action. Lee was the first son of the household. He took responsibility of all chores, cooking, and other errands while his mother was ill. He flashes back to every memory he has of his mother, from his childhood until the day she passes away. He depicts scenes of his mother cooking from when he was about seven years old. He would walk into the kitchen to watch her. He describes watching his mom cook his favorite meals as “one of his daily pleasures”. He learned all her motions while cooking from watching her in the kitchen. He developed a sense of some sort of how to cook certain meals by just observing. His mom even told him once, that the kitchen was no place for him; little did she know he’d end up becoming a cook for his family in the near future.
He explains his mother’s preparation for the kalbi, a Korean meat dish, very descriptively. From just peering through the crook of his mother’s arm, he took note of her butchering and cutting. He methodically explained how she would clean, cut and unfold the flesh from the bone until it was ready to be seasoned. He states how she delicately would sift the sugar into the crevices of the ribs with her fingers and place them in a bowl. He acknowledged her steps...