How do you get your ‘happy’ on? For me it is quite simple, sharing a meal with my family. My Dad was born in Shanghai so Northern Chinese food is what our family gravitates towards, much to the chagrin of my husband and my sister-in-law (not Kale) who are not used to the carb heavy foods that are characteristic of that part of China. The first time my husband joined us for Shanghai food, he joked that it would take him a week to digest all the noodles and breads that made up most of the meal.
What can I say, I love carbs, and so do my family. One of the dishes that we always order, and is snapped up as soon as it arrives at the table, is the beef roll. Even my husband and sister-in-law love it too, which says a lot about how good it is! It is a fairly basic dish, but it is the flatbread that makes it great and holds it together, literally.
Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings. I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this. I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.” Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this. On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.
I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old. Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now. We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years). Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers. Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me. “Old people know stuff!”
I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico. Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic. It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old. Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food. Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti. My Dad revelled in it! He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy. We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco. Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.
Tofu is the Meryl Streep of the food world. I love Meryl Streep so this is not an insult at all. Meryl’s brilliance is her ability to lose herself in any role. I remember watching her as Julia Child in the movie Julie & Julia and there were moments when my mind would shift back and forth – “It’s Meryl on the screen as Julia Child, no it’s really Julia Child, no it’s Meryl…” Tofu is just like Meryl in the way it can completely take on the flavours that are added to it. I have grilled tofu and served it with a satay sauce, put it in a broccoli cheese dip, added it to lasagna, and all to great success.