As I sit to write, my mind is buzzing with thoughts from the excitement of the day. I am dying to share them with you. But I pause. Something is missing. I get up and head to the kitchen. Why are you not surprised? After all, this blog is all about food! I turn on the stove under a small saucepan and open the fridge and grab the milk. I know exactly what will hit the spot. I will make kadak chai. I learned to make it today after a lovely potluck lunch and now I am craving it. You see, today, over lunch, I found sisterhood.
As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate the importance of sisterhood- the kinship and closeness to a group of women who are delighted in each other’s successes and anchor each other in rough times. This is not a blog on gender politics, so I will not get into a heated argument on the topic, but I want to highlight the power of community that women share when we get together. Men have long had brotherhood gatherings, be it at coffee shops, secret societies, bars or in religious places. Women have too. And when we meet for lunch, we talk and laugh about everything under the sun.
The term “Ladies who lunch” has come to be derogatory, describing women who have the time to socialize -expensively in fancy restaurants- as pampered housewives with nothing else to do. I am taking back the term and empowering it. I propose that ladies must indeed lunch, whether we are pampered housewives, business executives, working mothers or politicians.
The sisterhood keeps us grounded, collected and connected – important elements for a happy and balanced existence. Lunch dates are not only for busy executives, singles or women without children. Lunch dates are for all of us. You do not need a fancy restaurant and it does not have to be a lavish meal catered by an outsider. While there is always a time and place for a restaurant, there is nothing like a home-cooked dish. Add a personal touch by making the food yourself, but do not do all the work. A potluck lunch allows you to divide the cooking and each person can bring a dish she is comfortable making. At the end of the day, you may even learn a new dish!
Today at lunch, I learned to make kadak chai. Yes, I am waxing sentimental over a cup of tea, but only because it is heartfelt. I learned from a lovely local lady, who, even though I had just met, was my soul sister, as well as the other two sisters who accompanied her. I also became Aunty to a lovely little girl who has been brought up with old-fashioned manners by a very fashionable mother. The lady who brought us together is the big sister of us all.
I must admit that I have found sisters before. The original one from Jamaica and another from Dominica who I met through her, and though we are far by distance, the kinship triumphs. There is always a champion sister who acts as the de facto cause agent for the establishment of sisterhood. I have also met others here. Women transcending all borders who are a treat to spend quality time with and though some occasions are not centred around food, since we all have to eat, a meal is a great setting to bring us together.
In real sisterhood, age, religion, race, distance and nationality blur. We find commonness in spirit; we are defenders of individual and communal inspiration.
I am sure we all left our lunch date today liking different things. Some may have the memory of the host’s baked fish that was delicately cooked and fresh from the sea. Others may be reminiscing about the nicely spiced mutton curry that one of the sisters brought, someone may even be thinking about my own chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting. Who knows? As I sip my kadak chai, I know for sure that the food was the medium that brought us together, but it is the promise of sisterhood that will bring smiles to all our faces and cheer to all our hearts until we meet again.
What joys have you found with women over lunch? Do share your own experiences. We want to hear from you. Coming soon, a step-by-step picture post on how to make Kadak Chai.