Jan 03 2006

While my New Year’s eve was spent in the relative quiet of a house with a newborn, my New Year’s day was much more exciting.

John, Cole and I were invited to a dinner at the house of one of John’s former office mates from school. She and her husband are both Grad students at CMU and both originally from China. Of course, having not had a chance recently to be with other adults, we accepted.

When we got there we found out that another couple originally from China would be joining us. Both couples are expecting babies this year (6 months and 7 months along, respectively) so thay wanted to check out our spawn and ask questions. I was happy to be a know it all after getting it from others my whole friggin pregnancy. They asked for it, though.

We had a lovely evening discussing the Taiwan prob…ahem…situation, religion (they are all christian), Chinese history, food, cultural practices and, of course, babies. Cole was perfectly charming and smiled and cooed to his new friends all night. They cuddled and oohed and awwed at him and were totally smitten.

I was looking forward to dinner in hopes that I might get to experience some REAL chinese cooking, and I wasn’t disappointed. A quick overview based on main ingredients: pork ribs with potatoes and eggs (spicy); seaweed and sprout salad with black sesame seeds; mushrooms and baby bok choy (OH YUM!); pork, sweet potato and rice slow cooked in a lotus leaf; fermented rice and “sticky rice ball” soup; pig’s ears.

Yeah, that’s right. Pig’s ears.

I ate three strips.

The flavor was good, but I couldn’t handle the texture. The thought of eating pig’s ears was a bit disturbing, too (though I’m willing to eat the rest- why not the ears?). I ate enough to decide that I don’t really care for pig’s ears.

The rest of the food was beyond reproach. I could handle visiting China if the food was going to be as good as that. The flavors were so wonderful and so different even though most of the ingredients are ones I’ve used plenty of times. I want to learn!

Except, now how am I supposed to go back to crappy american “chinese” food? It’s just not even close.