Thursday, December 6, 2007

Turning Japanese (or Thai, or whatever, isn't it all the same?)

Okay, that was not actually my attitude when I decided to make a Vietnamese-style Thanksgiving side dish for my cousin's Chinese exchange student. I was just thinking Asian fusion, people. Does anyone really believe that this nice college girl from Shanghai would really be offended by my contribution of David Chang's beloved Momofuku roasted brussels sprouts to our otherwise pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner? My mom told me Li Ting was a vegetarian, so I simply thought I'd make a veggie side dish with a little spicy kick that might appeal to the visiting exchange student. It's not like I was going to make a speech after the grace explaining how I welcome her to our country and please accept this gift of roasted brussels sprouts in the style of your people. I just love Momofuku's sprouts and wanted very much to eat them myself.

Leading up to Thanksgiving dinner at my folks' house in Chicago I was also starting to imagine the dinner scene from Sixteen Candles where Chinese exchange student Long Duk Dong is perplexed by the quiche and grandpa says, "You don't spell it, you eat it!" Only grandpa would be my dad saying something vaguely, though unintentionally, offensive about Asian people (like calling them "oriental"), and Molly Ringwald would be played by my best friend whose family was joining us for dinner and who was celebrating her birthday that same day.

As it turned out, Li Ting couldn't join us after all, and my friend's birthday was impossible to forget thanks to a massive Mayflower cake she baked for the dual occasion. And I'm not too sure the members of my meat and potatoes eating family cared much for my fish-sauce soaked sprouts, but dammit I liked them!

(Yes, those are little pilgrims made out of Teddy Grahams)

In other Asian cooking news, last night I cooked up a dish of ginger soy salmon with coconut chili spinach. It did a miracle on clearing out my stuffy nose and throat, but word to the wise-- after working with Thai chili paste and cutting up chili peppers, be careful what sensitive body parts you touch with your spicy fingers. Yeeouch!

1 comment:

jen said...

the fact that you photograph your food delights me immensely. thank you for the sunshine in an otherwise gloomy day.

why don't you call when you're in town? i'd love to meet up w/you for a drink or something!