Let the sibling saga continue with this month’s comfort food diary, featuring my older sister. It’s safe to say she has nearly a hundred percent of all the creative and artsy genes in the family. She’s a creator, an originator, and a dexterous human being. My sister is not afraid to go against the crowd. In fact she thrives on impulse and doing things no one else has ever thought of. Also known as Kait the Ambi, she creates all, day everyday – illustrating, photographing, designing, coloring, sewing, singing, painting, coding…you name it, she creates it. (Take this website for example!)
So what does an ambidextrous artist eat to fuel and comfort her imaginative mind? Let’s have a chat and find out!
Cozy: “Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?”
Kaitlin: “My name is Kaitlin. I am a 26 year old artist and designer with a special place in my heart for puppies, puzzles and anything that makes me laugh. My philosophy is always to find a balance. I flex both sides of my brain designing logically on screen by day and letting my imagination run wild on paper by night. I am a middle child – contrary to my older brother, who contributed to (Cozy Diaries: A Cozy Logic), I don’t care why things work, I only care how. And unlike my younger sister, who is, with the utmost respect, prudent AF, I am most happy in moments of spontaneity.”
Cozy: “What is your favorite comfort food?”
Kaitlin: “My favorite comfort food is a dish I know as Chicken and Papaya soup. I believe it originates from the kitchen of my Filipino grandma. Whenever I ask someone if they’ve heard of the dish, I’m answered with furrowed brows and faces horrified by the thought of eating soup with fruits in it. But to me it’s like eating a spoonful of warm hugs.”
Cozy: “Curious, when do you crave this soup?”
Kaitlin: “Ughhhh…all the time?”
Cozy: “Fair enough. It’s THAT good. Do you ever make it yourself?”
Kaitlin: “Not really, I made it once. I know the recipe for the most part, but kind of just estimate everything! I learned it from mom but hadn’t made it until I moved out.”
Cozy: “Have you ever tried chicken and papaya soup made by someone other than our Grandma Lina or mom?”
Kaitlin: “Nope! No one else I know has ever heard of it.”
Cozy: “So how would you describe it to someone who’s never had it before?”
Kaitlin: “With the first spoonful you experience the comforting taste of traditional chicken soup. A second spoonful introduces the perfect balance of sweet and salty as you slurp up melted green papaya and ginger. The third spoonful, overflowing with rice and shredded chicken fresh off the bones (yes, the bones stay in for extra flavor), is the one that reminds you this is a soup that will leave you not just cozy but also full. Spoonful after spoonful, you’ll slowly be lulled to contentment.”
Cozy: “Looks like it runs in the family. This is the dish we both seem to return to, time after time. This is my comfort food because it evokes memories of Maui. Why did you choose chicken and papaya soup?”
Kaitlin: “There is no specific memory attached to this food. I think it’s more the memory of my grandma’s house. If you asked me to draw a picture of grandma’s house, I honestly don’t think I could. I only remember small things, a mustard, yellow shag carpet, a backyard that seemed like a forest at the time, the old man I will forever only know as Tata who lived in the spare bedroom, and the outside shower that we all fought not to be the one to use it. The taste makes me think the days my siblings and I spent there making our own adventures, the three of us together during the days of immobile gaming devices. My grandma would always have a hot meal ready for us after playing outside.
Now that we’re grown up and live quite a way away from each other, it’s always nice have a spoonful and remember the feeling of being together again…”
Cozy: “And because I knew this was the dish you’d choose, what would you say if I had a pot of chicken and papaya keeping warm on the stove right now?”
Kaitlin: “Why are we still here talking???”
Cozy: “Haha right, I’ll get the bowls!”
And there you have it folks! As wild and crazy my sisters imagination can run, her appetite for comfort lies in an undeniably simple Filipino recipe for chicken soup.
Written in collaboration with Kaitlin D.