Monday, November 23, 2009


In 2007 My family went out of town for Dinner so I chose to accept an out of the country commission, in China. Here's how I celebrated Thanksgiving that year.

Thanksgiving 2007

Today I enjoyed Thanksgiving lunch with my Chinese family, a Designer, an engineer, 2 factory managers, a product manager, and our driver. I was the only American, as all of my associates had gone back to the States to have Thanksgiving with their families. It was only lunch and not quite Thanksgiving Day in the US, but I imagined that this was my Thanksgiving dinner.

We ate things that might have been eaten in America that first Thanksgiving, rabbit, corn and beans. I was sure that the bamboo sticks the rabbit was threaded on, and the shiny aluminum foil protecting their ends, were not used that first Thanksgiving, but the meat was very tasty.

The corn, which I am sure the pilgrims must have eaten, was very good also, although ours was cooked in egg yolk and sprinkled with large crystalline grains of pale brown sugar. The green beans were cooked with almost neon purple skinned eggplant that had a fire-roasted flavor. This was the best of all of the dishes, but I’m positive that eggplant hadn’t arrived in the Americas for many years after the first Thanksgiving.

We had a pot of animal insides, stomach, liver, and I’m not sure what else, that were boiled in broth with some sort of meatballs, and quail eggs. I was not really sure what animal it was or what the meatballs were made of, and maybe I didn’t really want to know. We were served a heaping platter of pork meat with even more heaps of dried hot red peppers. The meat wasn’t very spicy , I guess the peppers were just decoration.

We had a plate of finely chopped broccoli. Not the best tasting thing on the table though, and I like broccoli. It was steamed with no seasoning. Too plain for my taste, but healthy so I ate a large portion. The best tasting dish was the rice noodle with spicy sauce. Large flat translucent noodles with garlic and spicy oil, and so much hot pepper that the oil is a deep glistening red.

There was a small iron dish of bubbling hot spicy beef. This one is a favorite of mine. Small tender strips of beef, that simmer in a little oil and broth with a lot of hot peppers, garlic, and fresh cilantro, and have a flavor similar to Mexican food.

The food was all served on a large rotating tray, like an over sized lazy Susan. That’s how my Chinese family eats in a large group. It is really a nice way to dine. You rotate food around and take only what you want, when you want it, no fighting. There is plenty for everyone, and no mother over stuffing your plates with amounts and food you don’t really want.

The conversation went on, just like any family dinner. There were heated discussions and lots of laughing. I didn’t understand a word of it. I did hear my name mentioned once and was told that they complimented me for something. I believed them.

We sipped hot tea and a canned herbal tea drink and enjoyed the company of friends and good food.

My mind wandered to my many years of Thanksgiving with my family in the U.S. This was my first Thanksgiving away from home. I have spent my birthday away, many times, and I have been without part of my family other holidays, but never so far away.

1 comment:

noblegnome said...

Thank you for sharing this Cinders. You learn so much about a culture by sharing a meal. Not sure I would enjoy the pot of animal insides but the other items sound pretty yummy. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!

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