Food for a farewell - the intersection of food and lifeToday I joined work colleagues to farewell one of our own - one of the best of us as our CO so aptly put it. Our colleague Jen, who had been working with some of us for 15 years, was farewelled over a lunch of Yum Cha, her favourite food. Not one for sentimentality, Jen had pre-arranged for us to share lunch, together with her family and closest friends, at her favourite restaurant, in lieu of the traditional funeral. This was her lunch party, one which she wanted us all to enjoy. What better way to farewell a friend than by sharing not only memories but also the food she loved.
Jen's favourite colour was purple, or any shade thereof. Most of us wore garments in various shades of purple, and one very clever team member crocheted us all matching flowers to wear and keep as mementoes.
We had been on a journey with Jen for most of last year which brought us to this point, and food was an important part of that journey. Jen was always the one in our team who rounded us up for lunch and the socialisation that is part of sharing food. It was her wish that we all get together for a Christmas BBQ at a workmate's home on December 14th. We brought an array of diverse delicacies to share. Jen, with her love of Asian food, brought an amazing whole BBQ snapper (recipe below).
That day was the last time some of us saw Jen. As we prepared for Christmas and then scattered to holiday destinations, Jen slipped away on the final leg of her journey, one she had to make alone.
Some of our team at one of our many morning teas. That's Jen third from the right
We will remember Jen again with a special morning tea later this month. There is no doubt though that she will be there in some intangible way at all the morning teas and lunches to come.
Thai-style whole snapper
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 kg (2 lb) whole snapper, cleaned, scaled
- 2 spring onions, cut into julienne strips
1. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Place the garlic, fish sauce, lemon juice, ginger, chilli sauce, coriander and rice wine vinegar in a jug and mix well.
2. Place the snapper on a large piece of well greased foil in a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the fish and sprinkle with the spring onion.
3. Wrap the fish into a parcel and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until the flesh flakes easily. Serve immediately with steamed rice.