Mamma en chef | In the kitchen of these mothers from elsewhere

There are funny moments in Mom cook, TV5Unis’ new culinary show. And there are many more intimate ones, too, in these kitchens where comedian Erich Preach has prepared recipes from their home countries with mothers from all walks of life. We talked to the host about this experience which showed him that no matter where they come from, mothers all cook with the same dose of love.

Posted at 11:00

Laila Maalouf

Laila Maalouf
The Press

Did you enjoy cooking before participating in the show?

I started cooking quite young. When my mother was making something I didn’t like — which was very rare — she would tell me, “If you’re not happy, get some food!” And I did. Not very complicated dishes, but when I was 10 or 11, I used to make spaghetti. I started with the basics, with my mom’s supervision, obviously, and then from thread to needle, back to high school, I was cooking more complicated stuff. I’ve always had this love of cooking. In my family, I saw my mother cook, I saw my father cook … It wasn’t reserved for one side or anything. My dad already made my lunch, my mom already made my lunch, they showed me very early on how to make them too.

What touched you about cooking with these mothers who come from elsewhere?

The kitchen, of course, is a pretext. It’s an excuse to talk to people, to have their life experience. It’s fun to cook. But the ultimate goal is really to share with people, to know their story. Mothers were really generous with their time, and that’s what I liked the most.

What do they have in common, even if they come from very different cultures?

They are all women who are resilient, fighters. Women who have faced adversity and been able to get through it. And it’s good to show that. There are those who have really dramatic stories. Moms from Congo, Colombia, Vietnam have very, very, very touching, very hard stories. But they have a great adaptive power. They always have a smile and a kind of joy of life.

What does a mother’s kitchen mean to you?

Basically, a mother cooks to provide for the needy, to feed the family. But it is also a proof of love: a mother who cooks, she puts her own, it is a part of her that is in what she prepares. When you cook with these mothers and taste their dishes, you understand that it means a lot; it’s not just a trivial dish. There’s someone who took the time to cook for you.

Is there a dish that your mother makes that has a special meaning for you?

To this day, when we have a special event and I’m going to eat at my parents’ house, it’s my party or I want to celebrate an event, my mother makes lambi – it’s a mollusk – with rice cashew nuts. My mom prepares it every time we have something to celebrate or we haven’t seen each other in a long time… It’s one of my favorite Haitian dishes.

Mother cook is broadcast on TV5 until June 9. Catch-up shows and full online recipes, in addition to five exclusive episodes for the web (including one with comedian Eddy King and his mother).

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