Entries for Consider The Sauce Guest Post Competition were slow in arriving but in the end we got a goodly number.
All were good.
A couple were longer and more detailed than the winner.
But in the end, the honours go to Erika Jonsson for her eloquent and soulful homage to Footscray.
Congratulations and we hope you enjoy your lunch at Woven.
And thanks to all who entered!
By Erika Jonsson
My four-year-old son’s fingertips are stained yellow.
He’s licked them clean but the turmeric always lingers in the beds of his nails for a day or two after an Ethiopian feast.
He loves eating with his hands, dipping tangy injera into brightly coloured stews or wrapping it around perfectly cooked meat.
Joe slides down from his seat and heads to the counter to pay – a responsibility he takes seriously.
“Don’t forget your manners,” I remind him as he walks away.
He proffers a $50 note and accepts his change.
“Amesegenallo,” he says.
The faces behind the counter light up – shock quickly becomes delight at the realisation a small, blond boy has just said thank you in Amharic, Ethiopia’s primary language.
“Thank you” is a powerful word in any language, but say it to someone in their native tongue when they are not expecting it and you can open up a conversation in an instant.
My son has spent the entirety of his short life in Footscray.
He loves to talk and he loves to make people happy.
So he says “cảm ơn” when he’s been eating pho; “terima kasih” at Roti Road; “shuk’ran” at Babylon (a favourite that
has now sadly closed); and “grazie” to Joe the barber for a handful of lollies after a hair cut.
He takes diversity for granted.
“How good does Kebab Surra smell?” he exclaims from across the road as he catches a whiff of charcoal and spice emanating from his favourite restaurant. “Can we have Kebab Surra for dinner please, please, please?”
I grew up in a household with plenty of culinary variety, but nothing like the world of choices Joe has on offer within a kilometre of our central Footscray apartment.
When we moved to Footscray, when I was pregnant with Joe, my friends and family were aghast.
Occasionally they still express concerns about safety or doubts over our inner-urban lifestyle.
I just laugh.
I’ve never regretted our decision to move to Footscray.
Every now and then I wish for more space, but the trade-off isn’t worth it.
Joe and I walk everywhere.
We eat out when we feel like it, and a family meal for three plus an increasingly hungry nine-month-old rarely costs more than $40.
We have a world of food right outside our door, and it opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to travel, friendship and cultural awareness.
Life tastes good in Footscray.
Beautiful story Erika! Definitely a worthy winner 🙂
How divine. I loved reading this story.
I love this piece – it feels very familiar and reflects our family’s experience of living in Footscray
Thanks for publishing my piece, CTS, and thanks to Woven for the prize. And even more thanks for those who have left comments and enjoyed my writing – food is a huge part of family life and Footscray gives us many opportunities to enjoy it!
As Erika’s Mum I loved this piece of her writing and also the fact that food and love are so very intermingled. I love cooking, and to myself and our daughters it is very much about love and giving. Not always good for the waistline but ultimately good for the soul.
Great story. Joe is very cute.