“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Before you gasp, no, I did not receive all those red pockets yesterday, ha! I keep a lot of the envelopes and pass them on to my mom whenever she needs extras, so I thought taking a picture would be nice to show the full effect 😀 Part III of my Chinese New Year celebration posts = food stuffs at grandma and grandpa’s! Celebrating the Saturday after New Year’s at and with my grandparent’s has been a long standing tradition of my family’s – I don’t recall ever missing a year. As I’ve grown older, I’ve really been able to appreciate everything more. You know what I mean. When you celebrate as a kid with your family, you’re usually accustomed to running around with your other kiddy cousins and slurping ice cream from a cone after dinner. But as you grow older, you learn to appreciate things more, to take everything in.
I’m lucky; I’m close to my grandparents (maternal that is, my paternal grandparents have long since passed) and they have taught me many things throughout my life. One very important thing that they have taught me is this: never skimp on food. You go all out and are gracious about it, both with the food and ensuring that the experience is an enjoyable one. When you invite people to your home or to a night out or anything like that, you can tuck away at other corners here and there, but food is something you never skimp on. Showing how much you care through a meal says volumes about the person you are, and this nugget of wisdom has stayed with me for years. You either go into it with all your heart, or not at all.
Munching away on a ham n’ egg Chinese bakery bun (and at the same time ogling an egg tart pastry, pictured up top), I stood by the kitchen and watched my grandma work her magic. Let it be known that I refuse to eat Chinese style chicken anywhere but my grandma’s. Over the years I have enjoyed chicken (in any style) less and less for a number of reasons, but one thing has remained constant: grandma’s homemade marinated chicken is the absolute best and it warms her heart knowing that I enjoy hers and only hers. Excuse my language, but everything else in comparison outside tastes like ass. As I’m noshing away at my bakery bun, I stand by the kitchen and watch my grandma lay several sheets of Chinese newspaper on the tiled floor, grab her cutting board, butcher knife, and kiddy chair to sit on so she can hack away at the freshly marinated chicken for tonight’s Chinese New Year dinner. My mum looks over and ruefully smiles. “Watch and learn, honey”. One step ahead of you, mum. And later on closer to dinner time, grandma is clanging and “chowing” away at her wok for her dish of shrimp and fresh vegetables: broccoli, bok choy, carrots, and snow peas. She is one awesome superlady.
I may be Canadian-born and I may not partake in particular cultural traditions as some of them are too traditional and too archaic. And I may not be that much of a meat-eater, even (but I do have a weakness for amazing crispy roast pork). But one thing that never gets old is enjoying a meal with my grandparents and soaking up the feeling of home every time I see them. I hope you all have enjoyed the Chinese New Year posts these past few days! And so ends another celebration for the year. I’m really excited because I’m planning a slew of Valentine’s related posts this coming week leading up to Valentine’s next Monday, as well as dishing about my Winterlicious experience at Amaya’s Bread Bar last week!
P.S. And no, I can’t reveal what my grandma uses to marinade her special chicken. Grandma’s secret 😉
Chinese bakery goods and pastries purchased from the Red House Bakery located at 11 Glen Watford Drive, just north off of Sheppard Ave. E and east of Midland Ave.