Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I do not know much about anteaters. Or children. But I have a pretty good idea what both of them like. Charsiu pork. Yep, charsiu pork. It's a fact. Anteaters loooooove charsiu pork.

I heard it on the bus.

Sitting opposite me were a little girl and her mother, both Chinese-Americans but speaking English.
The little girl had a small stuffed anteater on her lap. Brown flannel or felt, with black eyes and a mop of pitch black hair at the top of his head.
He looked bright and attractive, much like his companion.

"What does Mister Snow-Poof want to eat? What's that? Charsiu? Ooooh, good! Charsiu!"

Mister Snow-Poof? Who names their anteater 'Snow-Poof"? While I was mulling this over, the mother said "we can't have charsiu again, we had it yesterday".

"Mister Snow-Poof DIDN'T have ANY!"

Hearing this didn't surprise me. I have never seen an anteater scarfing down charsiu - probably because their little paws can't handle chopsticks. It takes leverage and dexterity to snatch the charsiu out of the box before everybody else grabs it. In the competition for juicy morsels of take-out meat, anteaters are at a disadvantage, especially if like Mister Snow-Poof they are only seven inches tall.
I was still wondering at the name 'Mister Snow-Poof' when the mother countered: "But dear, anteaters don't EAT pork!"

The little girl assured her mother that Mister Snow-Poof was an exceptional anteater, and contrary to all expectations, had a very keen taste for charsiu.

"He truly wants charsiu!"

No, anteaters needed to eat ants. The mother was sure of this. Ants were the natural diet of anteaters, otherwise they'd be called 'charsiu eaters'.
The little girl firmly rejected this excuse.

"But I eat charsiu, and you call me Amy, NOT charsiu-eater!"

Logic. It's a parent's worst enemy. Amy's mother again tried to explain about ants, yummy scrumptious ants, all fresh and wiggly, an anteater's FAVOURITE food. The little girl wasn't swallowing any of it. She gloomily shook her head at every argument; Mister Snow-Poof really wanted charsiu.
I was inclined to agree - anybody named Mister Snow-Poof is clearly not a common anteater.

"But why", the mother asked, "why does he want to eat charsiu so much, when his natural diet consists of ants?" She sensed she was losing the debate with her little daughter's stuffed companion, and sounded a little frantic.

"Because ants taste NASTY!!! "

Can't argue with that. They do.

As I got off the bus I had this sudden insight into why her little friend was named Mister Snow-Poof.
Obviously because he kept popping his head up over the frozen drifts looking for something to eat.
Small brown head, long quivering snout, mop of black hair.
And a hopeful expression, as he was SURE that there would be charsiu.

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Tzipporah said...

Best freaking story I've read all day. You would have made a fine anthropologist, BoTH.

BBJ said...


Anonymous said...

Yay, charsiu!

Ren said...

You should post a recipe for charsiu.

The back of the hill said...


Perhaps I will.

Anonymous said...

One of your best posts ever.

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