Plates: Memories of Love

Duration: 4:16 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.536
This story has been viewed 8422 times

Christina's story is about the importance of her Chinese culture to her, especially the ritual of eating and togetherness.

By Christina Law


Other information

This story was inspired by a dish from the collections at the Laing Art Gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

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Video transcript

On a rainy day I decided it was about time for me to make a journey and visit The Great North Museum. Walking into the building, I just felt excited and looking forward to what I am going to find out in the visit, something I would like to share with my beloved husband when I get home. We always like to share a bit of story about what happened during the day to us. The stories can be anything we think is funny, angry, sad or happy.

Walking around, my eyes were busy looking at all the beautiful collection from around the world. All the items are displayed neatly and nicely and it was a pleasure to look at. Just as I walked past the Chinese Antique Porcelain section, one collection caught my eye and heart very much: a Chinese Plate with a drawing of a garden scene with two ladies, a child, dog and willow, very beautiful and unique.

 It reminded me that my mum use to have similar plate like that; of course it was not from the Ming dynasty, but we had plates and bowls of a similar design, following and serving us for many years.

I still remember every day mum busy cooking for eight of us. While waiting for the dinner to be ready, we would play in the garden, jumping up and down, swing around the tree, with the family dogs and cat also running around. We were such happy children; we just threw all home work to the sky: every day, I just play, eat and sleep.

When the dinner was ready, we all ran over to the big round table, everyone holding a bowl with rice, and chop sticks, getting ready to fight for the foods on the table. My mum normally would prepare five or six meals served with those beautiful Chinese plates. The noises of chattering mixed with the warm heat, sweat, and wind blowing would slowly accompany the sun setting down. The pleasant evening would come and purple and blue coloured the sky. Mum’s face was full of shine and happiness; she loved to see us finish all her dishes. She always would be the last person to eat, and basically would be the last person to clear the leftover food. Mum always put herself last and the children first. That I always remember about her. When I moved away and live so far from her. The food that she prepares always stays in my heart, and I always remember the beautiful Chinese plates. Plates for many people can be just tools to serve food, nothing more than that. But for me they are not plates, for me they are a memory.

When I first moved to the United Kingdom, I have a few very close friends; we went to university, having lunch and dinner together. We were cooking for each other, serving the food with very beautiful plates we brought in the shops. Many years later, one by one, they went back to their country, but they all left me their beautiful patterned plate set for me. Every time I used the plates, it reminded me the good memories we have.

After our marriage, and our move to Newcastle, I brought another beautiful and simple set of plates. My husband and I both love to organise dinner in the house and invite friends over to enjoy the food and spend the time with them. I have so many good memories with them.   Plates for many are just tools, and meals are often ready made food served in paper dishes that are easy to throw away, leaving no memory behind.

For others plates are collectables for display if they are not for everyday use.

But for me plates are all of those, something to build our relationships with my family and friends; something to give us memories of happiness as we share our meals. I have a memory of happiness when eating together with my family and my friends.

e6wxezzzzPosted on 05/03/2013 at 23:20:37

Posted on 05/03/2013 at 23:20:39

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