Caramel Apple Dessert Dumplings

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:

  1. Eat what you like, and don’t let the (third grade) haters keep you down.
  2. My mom cooks the best Chinese food ever. Duh.
  3. 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

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