People say that we have selective memory, and that the things we remember play a large role in who we become in the future.
Simply speaking, we as humans tend to more accurately remember the events that hold greater importance and significance to our interests and beliefs, and vice versa, our subconsciousness tends to block out the memories that are in contrast to what we believe, or that may have caused us hurt that we try so hard to forget.
So as time passes, we reinforce the good memories, or those that we think play an important part of our lives, while leaving behind, like burdens or unwanted baggage, those whose roles we deem peripheral and insignificant.
I suppose then that the first memory we ever had of our existence (and that still lingers) has a large impact on how we develop and think later on, don’t you agree?
Do you still remember what your first memory was?
For me, it was the image of my mum carrying me as a two-year-old toddler, as we chased butterflies in a park.
We were in Tampines, the neighborhood where we would live until I was five, and the place where my parents had bought their first flat, being homeowners for the first time in their lives.
I can still imagine myself, with my tuft of fine hair on my head, stretching out tiny chubby fingers in random pursuit of butterflies, and my mum laughing at my futile attempts. I imagine a huge wide smile on her face, showing off all her teeth, and a twinkle in her eyes matching the gold earrings she always wears.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it was my mum who actually told me about that day; but somehow, the memory just stuck. Above all the other memories that I have growing up, this is the one that I go back to time and again.
I’d never thought about the significance of this memory until today, but as I sit here typing furiously into the keyboard, a thousand words spilling from my head onto the computer screen, I realize that this memory sticks out in particular because of my mum’s constant presence and support in everything that I do.
I’ve told you briefly about my mum before.
She’s the one who taught me to make her famous pineapple tarts when she visited me in Buenos Aires last year, remember?
My mum’s a woman who is quiet by nature, and she loves to relax with a good book and a cup of coffee in our backyard patio back in Singapore. And though we’re not exactly the kind to pick up the phone and make long emotional calls to each other, I remember my mum being present in all the large and important events in my life, despite being a full-time accountant with an important firm. She still is very present in my life, even if I live thousands of miles away.
I recall my mum ringing us from her office when we were still in primary school, asking us how our day was, and what we had eaten for lunch. She’d sometimes also bake a delicious butter cake in the weekends, or maybe some super-chewy brownies, and we kids would fight over the last piece. Later, when my siblings and I grew a little older and started having a ton of activities to attend, my mum would fetch us to and from the different places, trying to spend as much time as she could with us during our puberty.
When I started university and spent more time with friends outside than at home, my mum didn’t complain, she just tried to understand the need for us to be apart. I remember that when I first starting dating, I sheepishly told my mum about it, and she just asked if I was happy. When I later broke up, because the relationship had not gone the way I expected, my mum and I sat on my bed in my room on the third floor of our house, and she listened and held my hand as I cried and told her why I had to leave the relationship.
A few years later, when I decided to move to Argentina for love, I could see the sadness in her eyes when she realized that I was determined to re-locate Buenos Aires.
It was a city so far away from Singapore that you’d need at least 30 hours on a plane to get there. Yet, she supported me and came to visit me, to see if I was doing alright, and to spend time with her daughter living across the globe.
Now that I’ve got a food blog and have embarked on a wheat-free journey, my mum has pledged to do the same, and despite the physical distance between us, her constant support and vote of confidence in me (whether or not it’s because I’m her daughter) has always made me feel that we are closer.
I’ve told you before that my mum used to bake us brownies when we were younger, and for that, brownies will always have a special place in my heart.
Since my mum and I are both trying to go wheat-free, here’s a tribute to our beloved brownies – this time, grain-free!
You might think that eliminating wheat from a brownie recipe may result in absolute disaster, but I’m so glad to be able to tell you that it’s not true at all! This brownie recipe, which I adapted from London Bakes, was chewy, crumbly, rich and chocolatey. With both cocoa powder and chopped chocolate mixed into the batter, they’re a chocolate-lover’s delight. Sprinkled with chopped walnuts on top, these brownies were little mouthfuls of heaven, and most all of, an incredibly delicious reminder of my childhood!
This recipe is dedicated to you mummy!
Thank you for your support in every single thing I do, for your daily morning prayers over my safety and future; for your ceaseless efforts to show me that your love is constant and never fading; for your example as a woman of God, and for everything that you have taught me and shaped me to be.
I love you, very very very very much!
GRAIN-FREE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (Makes about 20 brownies)
Adapted from: London Bakes
1) 200g of dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2) 175g of butter
3) 170g of brown sugar
4) 4 eggs
5) 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
6) 1/2 cup of almond meal
7) 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
8) 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder (or 1 teaspoon of baking soda)
9) 1/2 teaspoon of salt
10) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, for garnish
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit (175 deg cel)
2) Generously grease a square or rectangle baking tin with butter
3) Place chopped dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl
4) Melt butter in a small pan and then pour melted butter over chopped chocolate, stirring until chocolate is completely melted
5) Add the sugar and mix well until sugar is dissolved
6) Add in the eggs and beat well, followed by vanilla extract until well-combined
7) Gently mix in the dry ingredients (almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt)
8) Pour batter into the greased baking tin, and spread out evenly
9) Sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over the batter
10) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
11) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m trying to eliminate wheat from my life, I strongly recommend Wheat Belly – a book that will empower you and make you determined to get rid of wheat and it’s terrible health effects!