Mom never learned to make tempura in her native Japan
Like her maki rolls,
she learned to make them from Japanese wives married
to American men.
Japanese chefs in Japan spent years apprenticing before
touching the batter or fry oil.
In comparison, Mom’s batter was more golden yellow
not pale blond,
shrimp, green beans, sweet potato coated thick and lumpy
not light and lacy,
the coating cooled to a chewy consistency
To family, it was perfection!
Time went by, we moved on, settling into a cadence outside
the shelter of our parental home.
When mom visited me in Southern California, I took her to
Bob’s Big Boy.
To go with our burgers, she chose fried onion rings served
golden brown, the texture of thick paint,
permitting inviolable memories of small-kid times.
It was perfection!