My grandma is definitely improving each day and my mom also seems to be more relaxed and generally happier. I always discover a little more about my grandma each time I see her. She told me if she could be half as carefree and dim witted as some folks, she could live a fairly blissful life. But we both laughed – because neither of us are like that. We like to worry about our little details and be in control and be that much more annoyed with things. I like that she recognizes this in both of us and laughs about it.
Yesterday, we went by a Vietnamese place that has dried Anything You Can Imagine. Lots and lots of snacks and a million teas and herbs. We picked up dried preserved plums (a snack) and some tree ear fungus (a nice addition to many stir fry dishes and soups). It’s piled high with stuff I couldn’t even identify. Newbies are either fascinated or horrified by foreign food stuffs. I tend to be curious or indifferent because I’m used to being dragged through this sort of shop. Jeremy is definitely among the fascinated. Those folks who are afraid of unfamiliar foodstuffs go into my book as “wusses”. If there is one thing to be said for Asian cultures, they do not waste food.
i’m looking for some spongebob squarepants fruit chewies…
dim sum guide
If you are a shrewd dim sum diner, like everyone in my family, the first order of business is to choose a good dim sum establishment. The next order of business is to arrive early, but not so early that all carts are not yet in full circulation. It is a requirement to be seated in the proper location to capitalize on the physics of the cart flow because tables in “eddies” never get a good selection and are passed half of the time. After that, you must order the right dishes lest everyone else at the table (unless they are white, or just Chinese losers) think you lame and without a working taste bud in your mouth. Oh, and you must order twice as much as the table can physically ingest. During the ordering process, scrutinize what the ladies pushing the carts are offering. Don’t order stir-fried noodles or stir-fried rice! What are you, white?! Ask what the ingredients are in each rice noodle-, tofu skin-, dough-wrapped item and then make a face at the really mundane dishes like that plate of shrimp-stuffed green pepper halves, or the dish of pork meatballs that any idiot can make at home, or that fried shrimp ball monstrosity.
grandma knows how to enjoy it
The polite host or hostess will dutifully fill the tea cups of the party and flip the lid of the pot when it is empty to let the waiters know we need a refill. Be sure to order jiao yien yo yu (spicy fried squid) from the kitchen and not to accept a plate from the cart (because they are cold and overfried). If the yu-to or the shien swei jiao are cold, emit a sound of disgust and say loudly in Chinese to everyone within earshot – “Ai-ya! These are cold!” However, if you chose wisely in step #1 – this should never happen. The final phase is paying the bill. The veterans discreetly slip their credit card into a pocket or sleeve during the meal and will either jump up and shove their credit card into the hand of the waiter when the bill arrives, or will have earlier excused themselves to use the bathroom and actually have snuck away to give the cashier their credit card with explicit orders not to accept any OTHER cards. My mom actually elbowed me in the gut when I stood up to force my credit card on the dude. Luckily I’m no shrinking violet as my mom is pretty strong for a 5-foot tall lady and could have easily taken out a kidney…