Sunday, January 22, 2012

How We Almost Forgot Chinese New Year

"When's Chinese New Year this year?" I asked the kids this past Wednesday night.

"I think it was Monday," said Kai.

"WHAT????"  I shrieked, "We missed it?"

"No, no," she amended, "Maybe it's this Monday."

I checked on-line and sure enough, Chinese New Year falls on January 23.  Whew!

What kind of Tiger Mom am I, if I can't even remember to celebrate Chinese New Year?  The answer, just a Tiger Mom wannabe.  

I couldn't even remember what animal this upcoming year will be without Googling it.  The answer--the year of the Dragon, something I should have known because both Scott and Ren are Dragons.  Scott will turn 48 while Ren will turn 12.  (The Chinese zodiac rotates around a 12 year cycle). 

It just shows that I don't dance to the rhythms of the Chinese beat. 

Last Chinese New Year's I wrote about the dilemma of remembering Chinese New Year, raising bi-racial kids who'll feel good about their Chinese side, and the challenge of getting the right Chinese New Year foods.  You'd think that writing about these things publicly would mean I'd do better this year, wouldn't you?

It feels like it was just dumb luck that last Wednesday I happened to shop at H-Mart, the Korean superstore.  I went to buy frozen Chinese dumplings, my most popular go-to potluck dish, for a potluck on Tuesday.  Whenever I find myself in an Asian grocery store I can't resist buying Asian vegetables, so baby Shanghai choy, garlic chives, Napa cabbage, dou miao (pea shoots), and Japanese eggplant all went in the shopping cart.  Without planning, I purchased a bonanza of veggies at just the right time.

Friday, Ling and I celebrated the end of her midterms with Indian buffet, then drove to Chinatown to buy nian gao (sticky cake).  I gave her $20 and told her to run into the bakery--expecting that Chinatown would be a mad rush of cars and people, but not only was it not crowded, I found a parking space right after dropping Ling off.  Good thing too--when I found her, with nian gao and banana rolls already purchased, I said, "Where's the change?"

"Uh, they didn't give me any."  

"You've got to be kidding?  Those things shouldn't have cost 20 bucks!"  

So we marched back into the bakery, found the woman who helped her, and as politely as possible asked how much it should have cost ($12.20) and if we could have the change.

"Oh?  I didn't give you the change?" she asked all innocence.  (Here's where I am a Tiger Mom--you don't go short-changing my daughter just because she's 5'11", doesn't look pure Chinese, and is too shy and timid to ask for what's rightfully hers!)

Tonight our friends and co-Cana leaders, Larry and Lois, will come for dinner and to watch the Patriots game.  It's Lois's birthday. Before I remembered it was Chinese New Year's Eve, I was going to make her a nice healthy dinner with appropriate portions because all 4 of us are constantly watching our weight.  But it's Chinese New Year's Eve.  So instead we'll have:
  • Some frozen dumplings made into potstickers
  • Stir-fried dou miao
  • Shiitake Mushrooms with baby Shanghai choy
  • Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
  • Chicken with Garlic Chive Nian Gao (rice cakes)
  • Tomatoes with Egg
  • Barley/Brown Rice (for dieting purposes)
  • Nian Gao from Chinatown
  • Hawaiian Butter Mochi
And Kai might bake a real Western birthday cake as well.  




Una said...

Kathy, it all sounds amazing! Happy New Year!

Roland said...

I want to come to your new year's eve dinner!

Tara Edelschick said...

Oh my gosh. We may just happen to be in your neighborhood tonight.

Tara Edelschick said...

Oh my gosh. We may just happen to be in your neighborhood tonight.