I Want Something Spicy

When Daddy retired, he took over the job of cooking. Hooray for me! He is a good cook, loves to experiment, but not at the expense of our health. We eat a plethora (there’s that word again!) of ethnic food—Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Indian, and some combination of those, which he calls his fusion. (like dumplings in curry sauce)

Growing up, I never had anything but American (meat, some kind of potatoes, vegetables, and applesauce) and Italian.  Always the applesauce for me, even on hamburger night. I think the only dinner I ever ate unaccompanied by applesauce was pizza.

When I started dating Dad, I think he was probably shocked that I had never had the Jewish Sunday staple—Chinese take-out. On one of our earliest dates, he took me to a nice Chinese restaurant in Lake Hiawatha. We would frequently order a Pu Pu platter, which would enable me to sample various appetizers. My favorite was the shrimp toast. We became regulars there.

We met his parents at a Mexican restaurant not far from their home in Yonkers. I have no idea what I ordered. I probably did not have a clue, but I am sure Dad helped me figure it out.

When his dad lay dying in the hospital, Dad went out and got him some sushi. Horrors on the sushi for me. It was years before I would try it, and as you all know, I still avoid anything raw, favoring instead, a California roll, shrimp teriyaki roll, or avocado roll. I am not as adventurous as the three of you. Even Bryce, at not quite three, has experimented with sushi so he is way ahead of me.

Grandma’s aversion to fish did not permanently scar us as Grandpa feared, although it did cause me to refuse a trip to my friend Sue’s house in Maine after she told me how much lobster they ate. (That was so dumb of me!) I think Uncle Dave is the only one who won’t eat fish.

You were all raised differently regarding food. People would marvel at how you all would eat such a variety of food at very young ages. We thought that if it was presented as normal, then you would not turn up your noses. (Would a child from India or Thailand tell his parents, “No, I want the chicken nuggets?”) So while still in your high chairs, you were all introduced to Chinese food by being served lomein, which Bryce calls “Chinese pasta.”

You ate escargot on our cruises, you all eat Japanese, Thai, Mexican, and when we went to Epcot, none of you ate off the children’s menu in Morocco.

You do not fear spicy meals, and I know that you have all incorporated various ethnic cuisine into your own households. We all remember Jamie’s experience eating those VERY spicy Chinese peppers in the Kung Pao Chicken. After continuously wining that “I want something spicy,” Dad decided to let her have her way and offered her a pepper. And then her eyes began to water and she ran around and around the table. Sometimes, be careful what you wish for!




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