Earlier today, I was chatting with a friend. She was trying to plan what kinds of food to cook for her family for the coming week, and was running out of ideas. In an attempt to get me to give her some ideas, she asked, "What kind of food do you like to eat?" I was about to respond by saying things like Indian food, Thai food, etc., but then I stopped myself: It occurred to me that she wanted suggestions on things that she could cook at home given her culinary expertise (i.e. typical North American housewife cooking skills--somewhere above mac-and-cheese, but not at bistro or restaurant level, and definitely not at the level of restaurant-level Indian or Thai food).
Seeing that she wasn't getting much out of me in the way of culinary suggestions, she tried a different tack: "Well, what would you ask your mom to cook for you if she were in town?" Ha! Actually, this is an even harder question for me. Firstly, my parents live on the other side of this planet, and I don't get to see them that often. Secondly, I've never had the sort of relationship with my mom which involves me asking her to make my favorite foods whenever I'm in her presence. Not sure why this is so; for as long as I can remember, when I lived under the same roof as my parents, I basically just ate what they cooked. This might have to change the next time I visit them, though: Having been vegetarian for the last four years, I don't think I can (or even want to) revert to the omnivorous diet that is so ubiquitous of Chinese cooking. There is a (Chinese) saying that the Chinese eat anything that crawls, swims or flies. And I know, from personal experience, that this is literally true. And without being preachy or all-high-and-mighty, I really don't want to go back to eating things that crawl, swim or fly.
But I digress. Back to my conversation with my friend. Rather than go into a long discourse about the ubiquity of Chinese cuisine (as outlined in the previous paragraph) and possibly bore her, I decided on what I thought was a more straightforward response. "Well," I said, "I actually don't know what I would ask my mom to cook for me. The last time I saw my parents, I was still a meat-eater. But neither of my parents are vegetarian (actually, nobody else in my family is), so I honestly won't know what to ask them to cook for me when I see them [Note to self: I need to start thinking about this at some point.]."
Needless to say, my friend didn't quite know what to make of what I said. I can't really remember what she said after this point, but I'm pretty sure she (or I) changed the subject, and the conversation went in a completely different direction.
Not the most interesting thing to blog about, I know, but this is my life right now. Just another day...