January 27, 2009

Crazy like an Ox

Xīn nián kuài lè! Happy New Year!

Chinese life is centered around food. They celebrate all occasions at the table, and the kitchen is the center of Chinese family life. Feasting is a symbol in China that all is well. That's also the way my life operates.

When we were in Taiwan, Katie taught me the common Chinese greeting, "Chi bao le ma?" which translates as "Have you eaten yet?" What better question to ask someone upon seeing them? I learned a couple of Chinese sayings as well:
Chinese will eat anything with wings (except an airplane).
Chinese will eat anything with four legs (except a table).
Hopefully those weren't meant to perpetuate mean racial stereotypes, because I think they're endearing.

We started celebrating Chinese New Year last night with a big meal. Katie was in her element, cooking and telling us what the foods were called in Chinese. Dad said it smelled like Taiwan in the kitchen. "Like stinky tofu?" I piped up. It did remind me of our trip to Taiwan last March. That was the trip of a lifetime. I wish I had done a better job cataloging my travels.

It was all too much fun for Scott, who in the picture below is still pouting because I asked him to swing by my house and grab a can of coconut milk, and I yelled at him when he brought me cream of coconut instead. I'm a terrible older sister.

Chinese New Year 2009

This is a food photographer's nightmare. A plate full of food and the only colors present are white and light tan. I added some chili sauce to my green onion pancake in desperation. Katie, what are the Chinese names for all this stuff? Clockwise: Fried wonton chips, chicken vindaloo, rice, steamed bun, potstickers, lychees and rambutans, green onion pancake with fried egg, bacon, and cheese, pork and beef egg rolls, and cabbage dumpling. I gave up trying to clean my plate. I contributed the chicken vindaloo, which isn't Chinese. I know.

Chinese New Year 2009

We're continuing to live dangerously by ignoring warnings about eating peanut butter products. These peanut butter popsicles were pretty good. With these, the danger was probably not so much salmonella as melamine or lead or industrial waste. Mmmmmm. The Jarritos Capitán made an appearance at the party, too.

Chinese New Year 2009

We opened fortune cookies after dinner like good little Americans. In the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Ox, so we let our resident oxen go first. Porter opened his cookie, and it had two fortunes. One for him, and one for Katie, of course. He read his aloud first, then Katie.

Chinese New Year 2009

My fortune was lame, but I checked out my Chinese horoscope for the year which said:
...you may notice some digestive discomfort. The source of this ailment is probably excess acidity caused by stress. Rather than popping a handful of chalky medicines every four hours, why not try acupuncture? You are disquiet by nature and rapidly fearful about elements in your life which are out of your control.
I don't like the sound of that! But it says that love re-enters the picture, too. To which I say, it's about time! That's probably the source of my digestive discomfort.


larshannon said...

ok, your horoscope was crazy funny. Wow what a spread at your place. We ate stirfry chicken and veggies with white rice while using chopsticks and thought we were AWESOME! I'll be honest some kids ended up using hands, but whatever.

wendy v. said...

Did those Peanut Butter Popsicles make you violently ill?

My horoscope said something about dental problems and budget issues--I don't like where this is going.

Steve said...

I would have commented earlier, but I was too upset about what Scott did. Cream of coconut?! Come on, Scott!

Auntie said...

Scott and Uncle should start a support group for Men Who Misread Grocery Labels.

Lemme guess.

He asked you, "What's the difference?"

I am an Ox.

Porter said...

Oxen! Wooooo!!!

By the way, because of the fortune, I'm planning on starting my schemes for world domination. Back to the Rhineland!