By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
I like the holidays, mind you, but it does get complicated. In fact, I have questions. For example…
What’s with the cranberry sauce? Before you start, I get it. That’s what the pilgrims had back in the day. But the pilgrims also ate cow tongue as part of their diet. I don’t remember any cow tongue next to the gravy the last time I checked.
Another thing—when I’ve brought up the whole thing about cranberry sauce, my friends will inevitably say, “I love cranberry sauce with my turkey!” OK, that’s fine, you like that combination.
But if that’s the case, why stop there? If you really like cranberry sauce with meat, why not continue with the trend? Next time you have roast beef, why not smother it in some strawberry jam? Or how about pan seared halibut covered with orange marmalade? It’s the same concept, right? I know, I know…sacrilege.
And could somebody please explain pumpkin pie to me? Why does it have to be pumpkin? We only have it at Thanksgiving, and nobody really seems to like it. When I was a kid, I thought that people made pumpkin pie from the old pumpkins they bought from Halloween, but no, the pumpkin in the pumpkin pie always seems to come out of a can.
I love Chinese sticky rice. My wife Maya makes it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s the absolute favorite thing at our meals. This is a traditional dish called nuò mi fàn in Chinese, and it’s a mixture of sticky rice, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, shitake mushrooms, and soy sauce, among other things. Maya’s sticky rice recipe comes steaming hot, sticky of course, but oozing with umami flavor and for those who have tried it, is a must have in our home.
OK, I think we’ve established that I love Chinese sticky rice. The problem is, everyone else who comes to either our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner also loves Maya’s sticky rice. You know what that means, right? It means that there’s a lot of sticky rice going to people who are not me. To make things worse, for supposed health reasons, Maya doesn’t want me to have too much of the sticky rice so she A) Portion controls my sticky rice intake, and B) Even if we have leftover sticky rice, she insists on our guests taking some home so I do not get any leftovers.
That’s two meals! Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s the only time I’ll ever have sticky rice. I’m perfectly fine with only having pumpkin pie once a year, but why do we have to artificially limit how much sticky rice I can eat?
Of course, I can have as much cranberry sauce as I’d like. And potatoes. And stuffing.
Since my birthday is coming up, I’m trying to leave little hints around the house that the latest tradition is to celebrate your husband’s birthday by fixing up a batch of Chinese Sticky Rice.
Wish me luck.
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.