Records and Recordings: Mother’s Wanton Voice Memo

I asked my mother for her wanton recipe via Whatsapp voice memo. Her instructions came in bits and pieces, sometimes hours later, if not, only when I asked about something else and she happened to recall a few more items. I thought these, if documented properly, will make wonderful oral histories about my family. As with any mother’s or grandmother’s recipes, there was no measurement or specific instruction. But the audio clips contain clues about our relationship and about cultural influences. Although she spoke mainly in Mandarin, she peppered her instructions with words like “corn flour” and “kilo,” and the Malay term “agak.” She also said “Q,” which means chewy or springy—a term popularised by the Taiwanese; my mother watches (too much) Taiwanese TV.

I asked my mother what else besides black fungus, water chestnut, and ground meat she put in her wanton.

I then asked if I should add coriander. A monologue ensued.

I had planned to make a big batch and freeze them for back up, so she said…

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