Sunday, November 17, 2019


In two weeks we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving. By which I mean all the rest of you, because for nearly a decade I haven't, and for several years before that it would be a day later than everyone else anyhow. I was in a relationship then, and because my significant other had never told her folks that she was living with someone, she went over to a relative's house (that being very much an obligatory attendance) on Thursday, I would do nothing, and the next day I'd roast a duck for our dinner.

It was a very American Chinese celebration. She was Chinese American, the duck would turn out Chinese, and the sides I prepared were rather more Chinese than typical white folks chow.

I am not Chinese American.

But I understood why she never mentioned our relationship to her kinfolk.
Some Chinese Americans are a bit freaky about kwailo boyfriends.
And some kwailo boyfriends are not very social.

Since our break-up I haven't roasted a duck. That's something I can find easily in Chinatown anyhow, and while I resent the question that is always asked by everyone ("how was your holiday ours was super totally fabulous let me tell you all about it in overwhelming detail") and sort of miss the damned turkey, I am, as you may have guessed, not very social.

Never-the-less, I have strong ideas about celebratory feasts.

In particular, I believe that there are FOUR things which should always be on every holiday dining table. In addition to rice and fried noodles.


The first one mentioned is a mixture of spiced toasted coconut shreds and peanuts or cashews perfect for adding a bit of textural excitement to curries and rice, the second is mashed hot chilies with other additions like garlic, fish paste, or lime juice, which may or may not have been fried, the third is a pickle made with salty and sour brine (often sliced chilies and onion in lime juice, tamarind, and fish sauce), and the fourth is Indonesian style sweet soy sauce.

Without these four "condiments", it's just a dolled up dead bird with bland muck on the side. At the very least, have some hot sauce handy.

Candied yams, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and boiled lima beans, are just plain boring. How come y'all get so damned fat?

The less said about cranberry gloop, the better.

Stuffing is often horrid too.

"How was your holiday ours was super totally fabulous let me tell you all about it in overwhelming detail!"

Serundeng, sambal, atjar, and ketjap manis. Plus two or three curried items, maybe pindang telur, a few sayurs, and rice. Gai choi with oyster sauce. Spicy stir-fried stringbeans. A tangy clear broth soup.
Mashed potato with bacon or duck fat.

Who invented this holiday anyhow? Severe Protestants?!?!?

I have some serious doubts about you lot.

Get with the program!

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