Every time when I heard of this song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", immediately I recalled how my mother made our meals every day and how we squatted by the coal-stove managing to keep the coal-ball burning. When I was ten years old, helping my mother with her cooking was always a game to me instead of a chore. First, I tore the wastepaper to small pieces and put them inside the stove, then I stacked short and thin stalks loosely on top of them, next I kindled the fire on the wastepaper. When it burned up to the stalks, I put the coal-ball on top of it. The tiny sparklets underneath the coal-ball would allow it burned slowly. If the air wasn't enough, by waving the flame or using the fire-tongs poked inside the coal stove to adjust the fire. At first, smoke came to me like heavy fog. Coughing in tears was the price of learning. Having overcooked or raw food for dinner were very common in the beginning. Later on we learned how to control the fire and then we could have an edible and tasty meal every night.
Those days had long gone. Time fled like a free wind and it blew away the heavy smoke around me. Now I am standing in front of my electric cooker, touching its polished stainless-steel surface with my fingers. It is smooth and clean, shining like a mirror. With one simple touch of the electronic ignition, I start the heat and turn the knob to adjust it. These hotplates can accommodate several pots and pans at once, all bubbling away at different temperatures. One pot is simmering the soup of chicken and vegetables plus few strips of Austrian bacon. The other pot is stewing ribs and seaweed. Another pot covers with lid tightly for its smoking duckling. The last hotplate with an empty wok is waiting there, until the doorbell rings, that is the signal for starting to stir fry the green and crispy vegetables. Then the dinner is served. These cookers are designed to cater for our cooking needs. I can cook several dishes simultaneously. From simmer to stir fry are all under my control. I can rustling up a quick meal for four or a dinner party for ten easily.
It sounds so perfectly just like a beautiful dream for a housewife. But, this is not a dream. Technology made everything easier and faster. The most important thing is, we are still striving for that goal. For the welfare of the human being. Therefore, whenever I hear this song "They asked me how I knew my true love was true, I of course replied something here inside can not be denied." Now in retrospect, those good old days seem to me like a trailing white wisp of mist. It never ends up in smoke.
(April 28th, 2004 at Shinchu City)
- 2樓. Charles Lin (更換照片)2017/07/15 15:21
"Smoke gets in your eyes", I did not familiar with this song, but I did have similar experience as you described in the 2nd paragraph of your article. Coal ball is even more "industrialized" in my eyes, as what we used were dry branches or twing of trees.
I grew up in the countryside of southern Taiwan, I had to help cook rice when I was a boy. My daughters had difficulties to image what the cooking pot and kitchen looks like even though they understood every words I said, anyway this is "A scene too old" for them.Charles Lin
Glad to learn that we both had the similar experiences of cooking rice in the old days.
Those days were long gone!
My sons can't comprehend that either. I think they missed the fun of it.
Thank you for sharing your thought with me！重陽 於 2017/07/16 23:36回覆
- 1樓. ellen chou 雨僧 瑰麗長天2010/10/02 05:51煤球
現在年輕人大概不知道煤球是什麼? 社會進步的太快了. 希望他們珍惜所擁有的科技便利. 重陽 於 2010/10/02 12:53回覆