Yummy, who remembers when going to a Chinese restaurant meant someone was going to order Chicken Chop Suey, The other dish that was always ordered by friends was Chicken Gai Ding, below is Kung Pao Gai Ding, (chicken with peanuts)
And of course I must not forget the sweet and sour chicken balls. I never understood where these dishes came from, we never ate such dishes at home. It wasn’t till I was much older, living away from home and in another part of the world, that I learned how creative Chinese cooks were. They used ingredients known to locals to create similar dishes to ones eaten at home, but yet totally unlike what we ate, because back then, the ingredients required to cook dishes that were traditionally eaten, would have been 1 – foreign to the western taste buds, and probably, #2 – ingredients were just not readily available. It is not like today, when you can find Asian necessities in almost any and all major shopping areas.
Even today, it is not unusual to have to have two menus. One for the customer who likes the western version of Chinese/Asian cooking, and one for the families who prefer more traditional style dishes. I have noted though, that the palate and the desire to experience a more traditional dish is /or has become more in vogue. The pungent and tantalizing aromas that I delight in when I walk into an Asian supermarket, do nothing for my husband, that is what makes people so unique, is that we each and every one of us, has our own reactions to the ambient sounds, smells and visions around us.
Chop Suey is a culinary example of putting food types together to create create a harmonious taste, that will give the eater a pleasant reaction to the blended spices and veggies/meat. Each culture has their own way of cooking a vegetable or meat so that it reflects their artistry.
We all eat. Those of us who cook, love the magic that takes place when we stir fry, steam, roast, grill, BBQ etc. Presentation is part of the craft. But best of all, it is the pleasure we have when we taste and eat what we have created. When guests or family enjoy what is put before them. its a bonus.
Preparing a meal and then sharing it, is a very special “event” Meals don’t just happen, we have to plan them. The love we put into pulling together a meal I believe is a an ingredient that is without measure. Love is the ingredient that should be in everything we do and say.
Sometimes life gives us chop suey days…… but if we pull them all together in a way that employs a proactive and loving flavour. It will melt in our mouths.
Namaste – Oyashikiri