When I was in the fourth grade, I designed a restaurant menu for Spanish class. My Spanish teacher, who regularly put the fear of God in her students (me, I thought, most of all), told my class to describe our food offerings in as much detail as possible.
As I harbored no desire to risk her wrath, I determined that El Restaurante Gato would detail its food down to the last garnish on the plate.
Such was my downfall. I remember Señora’s (as we faithful students called her) voice even now: “Grapes, apples, pineapples, I understand. But why does this fruit salad also have mayonnaise, beans, and eggs?” She was confused.
Maybe you, too, are confused. Let me explain. The fruit salad I wanted on the menu was not, in fact, an American style fruit cup or bowl with fresh cut fruit as the sole ingredients.
No, when I wrote down “fruit salad,” I was actually referring to the Chinese fruit salad that my mom regularly made at home – one that includes mayonnaise, kidney beans, and eggs, and is, against all odds, quite delicious. Seriously. Trust me on this one.
This is what I opened my mouth to defiantly explain to Señora. Unfortunately, being a shy, nine-year-old all aquiver in the face of my scary Spanish teacher, I ended up grabbing my eraser to fix the “extraneous” ingredients. And I was, therefore, scarred for life.
…Just kidding. I would be lying, though, if I said that this didn’t greatly impact my Chinese food-eating psyche. I mean, this, along with the third grade incident where I was too afraid to eat my lunch because people were commenting on a gross smell (turns out, it was from the hot food line, not my own innocent lunch) could have killed Chinese food for me.
Luckily, since I am a hungry girl, and no other cuisine besides Chinese really exists in my household, I continued eating – and loving – Chinese food.
Now, at 21 years old, let me share a few life lessons I learned from these experiences:
- Eat what you like, and don’t let the (third grade) haters keep you down.
- My mom cooks the best Chinese food ever. Duh.
- Chinese food rocks.
And so, keeping with the Chinese food love, and because yesterday was Mid-Autumn Festival(!!), I present to you, my totally non-traditional, the-only-Chinese-part-is-the-wrapper, Caramel Apple Dessert Dumplings! Continue reading