Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Operation Happy Belly

I remember going to a party in high school held at the house of a new friend. I was rather wary of going at all as I didn't really know (in the sense that teenage girls don't "know" other girls they've spent years in the same classes but never actually shared a conversation) anybody but the hostess. I want to say it was a movie night, but I honestly don't remember. All I remember is that we were going to cook our dinner, or at least part of it. We were going to cook guylan, a Chinese green veggie. The problem was that nobody seemed to know how to cook it properly. Not that we hadn't eaten it before since it is a staple in North American Chinese food, both in restaurants and at home and of the half dozen girls there, a couple had been born in China, a couple had been born in Canada to Chinese parents, and the hostess was half-Chinese.

When I, the lone white girl (and newbie to the group), stepped up and started to cook the guylan (and properly too!) the kitchen fell silent. The other girls suddenly focused their attention on me - and it wasn't friendly. I wondered if I was going to have to start watching my back in the halls at school.

But the hostess dissolved the animosity with a single sentence - "her stepmom is Chinese!" the other girls laughed. Suddenly I was accepted, it was as easy as that.

Nowadays I'll sometimes say that gastronomically I'm half-Chinese. From when I was 13 to my early twenties my father was married to a Chinese-Canadian woman who happens to ne an AMAZING cook (urm... of Chinese food that is... her tofu quiche was significantly less than amazing... less than edible really!!)

Anyways, C makes a mean mapo tofu. And a really good chicken and cashew nuts. And... And... And...

Annnyways. This means that now Chinese food is my comfort food. Whenever I feel over-tired or stressed I get a craving for mapo tofu.

There was a great Chinese food restaurant near where U used to live and we went often. We found a good little Thai restaurant near our new place right away but good Chinese is proving harder to find. We're both committed to finding a good go-to Chinese restaurant, however, so Operation Happy Belly was born.

Stage one to come...


  1. Hilarious! (Although I'm sorry that you're stressed out and in need of comfort food.) I'm so happy that you actually enjoyed some of my (not really so good) Chinese cooking, if not some of the other stuff... Your thoughts are stirring my step-maternal instincts, and I'm really looking forward to seeing you in the flesh soon and forcing some homecooked mapo tofu on you and U. Meanwhile, Operation Happy Belly is a brilliant idea! I also hope to benefit from your experiments - this means you must accomplish your mission to find a good Chinese restaurant by July! Good luck and enjoy.
    love and hugs, C

  2. Luckily more time has been spent looking for Chinese restaurants than writing about them, and we have found one place I think you will enjoy - but I'm going to make you wait to read about it!