WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT?
[The cleaning of the tombs is a traditional Chinese practice known as Ching Ming (清明節) observed on the fifteenth day after the Spring Equinox. Chinese-Americans traditionally do it on the nearest weekend before or after that date.]
Last weekend she assembled the dry provisions, this Saturday the wet things are on the list. Sunday morning will be when she gets the boiled chicken and the buns, before driving off to meet her siblings in Colma.
After which she'll certainly spend whatever hours are left of the weekend with her sweetie (aka "Wheelie Boy").
Yes, I am quite as tired of hearing about her new boy friend that pissant as you are. Sorry.
EMPTY LAIR SYNDROME
Point is, the house will be empty.
I'll probably flee to the office for the duration.
By one or two o'clock on both days I'll start feeling ravenous and wondering whether I should head into Chinatown for a bite - it will have been several hours since 'coffee-shave-shower' by that time.
Around four o'clock I may give in and do exactly that.
Teatime, breakfast, lunch, dinner - it's 'tinksher'!
Noodles, pastries, or dumplings.
Good, but not really a meal.
A meal, pretty much by definition, is shared. Rice and various dishes.
The closest a restaurant comes to that paradigm for the single diner is a riceplate. And there are TWO things wrong with that! The first is that ordering a riceplate advertises your inability to share - either because you're the only one at the table, OR something far worse.
The second thing is that riceplates are boring.
A meal consists of RICE, various SHARED dishes, and ANOTHER PERSON.
Anything else is a snack, or mere fuel.
Imagine, if you will, that I sit down and order something approaching a meal by myself. In addition to the rice, that would be a meat dish and one or two vegetable dishes. For instance steamed fatty pork with ginger, stirfried yau choi, and perhaps some mussels or oysters or a fish.
You can see the problem, can't you? There's only one of me.
That's WAY too much food for one person. And one person by himself will not have a great appetite to begin with.
A meal like that would also highlight the solitude, both for the person eating and for the restaurant staff.
That isn't the kind of 'attention' I want from myself or from others!
In addition to having no one to talk with while waiting for the 'feast'.
"Mmmmm, these shrimp are delicious, aren't they?
Go on, have some more of the gingered eel. Oooh, have you TASTED this pork and bittermelon? It's deeeelicious! Yummy, squid with black beans, miuchoi with garlic and oyster sauce, and dry shrimp mushroom taufoo egg custard!"
There are no real restaurant dishes that come in minute portions.
Outside of pretentious overpriced nouvelle places, that is - I rather doubt that such a place would even know what to do with real food anyway.
When I cook at home, two or three dishes seems like an awful lot of work for just one person. I usually just slop something together, if I bother to cook in the first place.
Fish doesn't even come in a single portion size.
There have been some weekends when I didn't bother to eat until I got home, and then simply had some cookies and tea in front of the television before going to bed. Which is the often what I do on weekdays also.
But at least during the week the lunch places in the financial district are open.
DINNER IS A METAPHOR FOR..... DINNER!
Now, I know what you're going to say.
Either you're going to suggest that I have an unhealthy obsession with eating Chinese food, or I should simply grab someone, anyone, to go out to eat with.
To the first statement I will offer that the problem is far worse when it comes to other styles of food - one order of rice pilaf and one order of murgh makhni equals one major serving of acid indigestion - and to the second I will object that merely sharing a table is NOT at all the same as sharing a meal. If each person is merely eating their own stuff, you might as well not eat together at all.
Very anglo Protestant people act like that - and can you say 'maladjusted' and 'dysfunctional'?
Kinda like carnivores snapping the moment another wolf comes near.
Mine, do you hear me, mine! My dead moose!
G'wan, git yer own! Snarl!
It is an intense pleasure to yield the better piece or the tastier morsel to someone else.
Here, please have some more of this. I'm so glad you like it.
Pass me your bowl, I'll scoop you some more rice.
The words 'yes please' and 'oh thank you' embody positive social interaction.
Contrariwise the phrase "I ain't touching that, it's WEIRD" is no fun at all.
Food tastes better shared.
That's just the way it is.
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