Last week I had a humbling and wonderful cooking experience that taught me three important lessons that I wanted to share with you. We had the great treat of welcoming an international student, Jing, into our home for part of her Spring Break. It was wonderful to provide a comfortable (I hope!) home for someone who is so far away from her own and also to have the opportunity to share about our cultures. The best part, for me at least, was the fact that she loves to cook and was eager to teach me how to make some of her favorite comfort foods from her childhood in China. So on Monday we made a field trip to the Chinese grocery store, stocked up on ingredients, and then came home to cook!
For Jing, one of the biggest sources of culture shock when she moved here was meal times when one main dish with perhaps a vegetable side was served. You see, in China there are usually many dishes all served family style. So when we were deciding what to cook together in order to make a traditional Chinese meal, she wanted to make sure that there would be many dishes on the table. In the end we made five dishes: winter melon soup, dumplings, pork and green peppers, eggs and tomatoes, and, of course, rice….