Friday, November 27, 2009

a truly chinese american thanksgiving. 38 m + 8 m

hwubby says, you ate a lot of food. i say, really? he says, yeah, i came back to the table after hanging out with the kids and you were eating turkey all over again. i say, you don't understand, my cousin remembered he forgot all about the cranberry chutney he and the kids made together. he chuckles, that's why you have to eat more turkey?
i say, you bet, i have to, that chutney is so good, it balances and enhances the sage butter permeated in the meat.

let me say why my cousin is a fantastic cook in one sentence: i eat a lot but i don't feel heavy. my state of consciousness is light and expansive. trust me, there are food that i take a bite and the stomach turns into a rock. bloated belly. stuffed mind.

i can go on and on all day long about the exquisite touch of granny smith in the butternut squash soup, the slightly smoky roe in the whole grilled giant prawn marinated overnight in plentiful cilantro paste, the pumpkin pudding that wisely draw on the gentle taste of young coconut milk instead of milk and so a key essential taste of thanksgiving dances in the mouth. and so on and so forth.

but, from the simple mind of this eater, here's the touch that transforms this thanksgiving into a chinese american fest. daisy, my cousin's wife has the audacity to make a clay pot of white rice layered on top with lots of top quality chinese preserved meat: duck, bacon, sausage. she complements it with gai lan, the quintessential chinese winter leafy green. it's a stroke of brilliance. or ancient chinese wisdom that is in the makeup after 5000 years of honing and tuning.

i do not attempt to describe how yum it is because this is like trying to describe the experience of eating mango, or measuring love.

it's a complete meal by themselves but i amaze at how well they blend in with the american tradition. the rice, imbued with the aroma of the strong seasoning in the cured meat, supports the low key turkey really nicely. the earthy fingerling potato works a nice alchemy with the cured duck, especially the wind-dried sausage. my cousin's cornbread stuffing is good but i couldn't resist the rice. tough call. what to do?

the last, but not the least, my niece, a choc fan, likes my wheat-free, gluten-no choc chip cookies. and so do everyone. this, and the time when we go around the table and each of us says what he/she is thankful for, are right up there in my fave moments.

the abundant event ends on a classical chinese note: no family can leave without take-homes. hwubby and i leave with a box full of of goodies. the crown jewel is the 15 pound carcass. hwubby says, o boy, suk wah is already thinking about her very special turkey soup.

yes, i am meditating on it.

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