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Holiday Dinners, My Cooking, and the Dying Recipe- Part III

December 9, 2012

Perhaps you’ve been into a true Asian supermarket, but if you haven’t let me tell you its like walking into an edible zoo and not many would know what is half the stuff they sell. Animals from the sea you wouldn’t even think of eating– sea cucumber, eel, whole squid, octopus tentacles. P1110026The Asians have a way with drying food too…they dry everything from shrimp to several different kindsIMG_2398 of fungi and mushrooms and in between, salted and preserved vegetables. Of course I was shocked when first exposed..but after awhile you get accustomed to a new normal and I have many new favorites. I love the food for the most part, all but one. Pickled bamboo shoots has a smell I just can’t get over, which I’m sure some Asians would say about Western cheese.
The VARIETY is endless! Asians aren’t ones to waste so there’s endless textures, tastes and combos.P1110499 North Americans go around the ‘bones’ and the ‘broth’ and the ‘bitterness’ and and we are too quick to say “ewww” before we even give it a chance. And mostly because we don’t know how to correctly prepare something we’d never buy it to try it. Take pork belly, or as you probably know it as bacon, but before they saturate it in salt and soak it in preservatives,its just meat layered with fat in between, and before you say ‘eww, fat”, let me remind you fat does taste good, just ask ‘ol McD. If you cook it right pork belly is wonderfully creamy and flavourful. And the same goes with a lot of things we ‘throw out’….like fish ‘collar’P1120859 (the part around the neck and gills that has meat but just gets thrown out…and I grew up on fillets of fish, we never cooked the whole fish, which now I find if you descale and delicately fry it- it is oh so delicious! Have you ever tried marinated chicken in soy sauce before you grill it? I can assure you, you can’t even tell what you put in it but it sure is good!
There is a major difference in how we view a recipe. If you go to google.com and search for a recipe you’ll get oodles of results on ‘commercialized’ recipe sites where thousands of others share recipes and comment on them. Its almost information overload. Now on the other hand if you go to Google.tw, P1120518Taiwan’s version and search for a recipe (I only know because my husband can read Chinese) your results will be blogs. Individual girlfriends, mothers, wives, grandmothers; sharing their love and passion for cooking and recipes for all to know what works best and what tastes best. Asians have such a deep rooted food culture, as I suspect a lot of the older European countries as well.
School is another huge difference, we ate cafeteria food, mostly processed, fried, baked or otherwise with maybe an apple or veggie. My husband on the other hand tells of stories of countless parents waking up early to cook and carefully pack meals every day for their children. A lot of food evolved through lean times, using very little ingredients to make something strong and flavorful that would take plain rice or noodle a long way. Whether you bought lunch at school or packed your own it would probably follow this example, in addition to a bowl of soup to wash it down.
P1110682I’m not a health food nut, vegetarian, or an organic crazed yoga girl. But I do believe diet is a lifestyle you get comfortable and addicted to. Food is important and you should try eat a variety without changing its natural structure too much. What have we really lost not having a culture that enjoys cooking and sharing wholesome food with your family? I believe we are already seeing the catastrophic effects of such a processed culture.

From → Food!

2 Comments
  1. I’m really enjoying your comments on food and cooking. I am passionate about cooking, I’m constantly trying new things. We recently moved into a part of town that has a lot more cultural diversity which means I live really close to international grocery stores now. We’ve been going on quite the food adventure. It’s been really fun. It’s fun to hear about your own food adventures.

  2. I didnt expect this, but I enjoyed this, found it enlightening! Keep up the good work!

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