Monday, April 28, 2008

Yup, this is how we eat

For my brother's thirty-first birthday a few weeks ago, we kids returned to the nest for the weekend. I've written before about how my family loves food, and how my mom always cooks up a storm whenever we come home. Well, for celebratory occasions our meals get even more elaborate.
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This time, my mom decided to prepare eight or nine different items. I didn't photograph everything, but above were some of my favorites, clockwise from top left: Tilapia steamed with scallions, light soy sauce, and a salty, tangy pickled berry (I don't know what it is in English, but my mom calls it lam-pu-gee in...Taiwanese? Hakka?); sweet steamed Japanese eggplants scattered with garlic, soy sauce, and cilantro; a stir-fry of wheat gluten, wood ear mushrooms, and carrots; and shitake mushrooms stuffed with fish paste.
Noodles are good to eat on birthdays, as their length is symbolic of wishes for a long life. For this version of cold sesame noodles, my mom first grated carrots and daikon radish into thin slivers and then salted them so they lost their crispness. Once they became pliable and limp she mingled the veg with shredded chicken, and stirred in a stellar chili-oil hot sauce studded with nuts and seeds that she had brought back from Taiwan. After spooning the mixture over a pile of snowy white rice noodles, she drizzled on sesame paste and added chopped cilantro and a few droplets of black vinegar on top to finish. The resulting bowl of noodles was cool, rich, flavorful, full of different textures, and just a bit spicy.

We didn't eat everything you see on that table, of course; as I mentioned in the last post, my parents cook with the idea of having leftovers for us to bring home. So I guess it's no surprise to anyone that my brother and I were able to eat happily for a full week afterwards….


  1. Your photographs are incredible!

    I think I gained another 10 pounds just reading your post, and I already weighed 437 pounds.

  2. Ha! Try being around the actual meal, and we'll see who gains ten pounds.

    Although, now that I'm thinking about it, aside from the sesame noodles the meal was pretty light (steamed stuff, lots of veg, etc).

  3. WOW... and I thought my mom gets carried away when I go home! This looks amazing.

  4. ya that was a good-ass meal. yay for mom and dad!

  5. Could I just invite myself over? Would that be weird?

  6. Umm...ok. So let me get this right. There were four people for dinner and EIGHT OR NINE DISHES???!

    I think your parents need to adopt some kids. Like me. I'm hungry! :)

  7. Haha, I'm sure they wouldn't mind feeding about ten other people. Nothing would need to change in the quantity!

  8. hey i promise i was going to see your website, remember me im Luis Escoto, we talk the other day at prince street, i really enjoy that evening, i hope we can do it again some time, my email is so drop me a line if you want