Friday, September 24, 2010

Boy, Do We Like to Eat

Let's go back to the business of Eating. 

Some readers of this blog couldn't quite believe in our daily routine when come to Eating.  That is before they find out that eating is the Asians' pastime. Yes, we eat ALL the time. Following the tradition of our ancestors for thousands of years, we go by the saying "We live to eat!"

We are basically very nice people, except on two occasions: when we are hungry, and when we are driving.

When we stop eating for a couple of hours, or when we are at the steering wheel competing with the motorbikes and other drivers to see who's better at weaving through the crawling traffic, we get very angry. My theory is there's some kind of chemical secretions (in the stomach and in the brain) during these times. We then undergo a transformation - from the smiling, good-natured Asian into a monster with a rage nearing that of the Incredible Hulk. Few Asians are left brain. Most are right brain. But when we are driving we are no brain.

The saying The way to your husband's heart is through his tummy is so very true here, as many a housewife would soon find out after getting a husband.

Most of the Blogs I follow have one thing in common: they belong to fine ladies (God bless them) who turned their houses into homes, enjoy simple and frugal living, and cook delicious wholesome meals for the family. They grow what they eat, can them, pickle them, saving some for the rainy (or winter) days.

I am digressing...

Yes, we (meaning husband, wife, children, the in-laws, uncles, aunties) Asians just love to eat.

Breakfast is not limited to a couple of eggs and toast - yes we take them too, but it won't be complete without rice boiled in coconut milk, or with yellow or green curry topped with beef rendang, hard-boiled egg and some fried anchovies. Either that or a bowl of fish ball soup with noodles, or a bigger bowl of curry mee. Or a bowl of fish or chicken porridge. If you are not too hungry (which is a rarity) a piece or two pieces of Roti Canai would do. These are normally accompanied by coffee or tea with sugar and condensed milk added.

[Hotel managements in the region are very sensitive to and are well aware of this special need. That is why their breakfast buffet spread for "Asians" is commonly ten to twelve feet long, compared to just the sausage and toast, and orange juice at the little "Western" corner. So hoteliers in the West would do good to take note and remember to allocate a big section for Asian breakfast if they want to attract tourists or travellers from Asia].

That's just breakfast.

Then we are off - to our workplace, or the shopping malls or the hairdressing saloon for those who don't work. After a couple of hours at either of these places we feel hungry again. Not to worry, where ever you are there is always food. So 10 o'clock in the morning is our traditional coffee break. The govt department service counters will have the sign Keluar Minum (gone for a drink) displayed very prominently at the window. All commercial and govt office buildings have built-in canteens to cater for this.

But you can bet they don't just go for a drink - they eat too! This time we keep it simple - nothing fancy - just a plate of fried mee or a bowl of noodle will do, with tea, coffee or bottled drink. Oh, yes, this is also the time for chit chat - to catch up on what happens to Ms Ellie after JR left home, or the latest Kung Fu movie, or which politician is after which actress for his second or third or fourth wife - that sort of thing.

Because these are quite intricate and complex issues the coffee break can last up to an hour or two.

Then back to work. But before you know it it's lunch time. Yay! This time for most people it must be RICE , accompanied by the very popular fish head curry, or mutton curry, or Briyani rice , with assortments of side dishes to help you finish at least one if not two plates of rice.

The rice, etc for some reason don't seem to last for very long. The 3 o'clock afternoon coffee break takes care of this. The purpose here is to replenish our depleting sugar level which for some reason is in the habit of getting lower speedily. But that's ok, because just as the withdrawal symptoms hit you, and your hands begin to shiver, it's time for a top up. So up goes the sign, and off to the canteen or food stalls again, this time for various kinds of  kuihs (sweets made from rice (see? rice again) or tapioca flour), with coffe or tea with sugar and/or condensed milk.

Dinner (which can be as early as 6.30 pm for some) is very much like lunch. Except there's more variety and fanfare, with friends and families. It can be at the food stalls, or a seven or eight course dinner at a Chinese restaurant, especially if it's your mother-in-law's birthday. This is also when the seafood and the occasional steaks are devoured.

We are not quite done yet.

Supper can be anything from 10 pm to 5 in the morning (not later than this, remember, breakfast is coming). There are numerous stalls open to cater for those who are either back from somewhere, or are hungry enough to get out of the house for a bite (which in our case means another plate of chicken rice or bowl of noodle).


Grandpa said...

My friend and relative Larry from Charlotte, North Carolina commented over at Facebook that the Asian way of greeting is "Have you eaten?" - something I've forgotten to mention - how very true.

Thanks for the reminder, Larry!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hi Grandpa! Hope you are having a wonderful day - with lots of good eating!

My husband told me once that husbands (and men in general) are like dogs - if you feed them they will stick around. I started cooking for him when I was 16. It works!

Mutton curry? Oh golly... must get sheep.

Happy friday (well.. its friday here)

Grandpa said...

Hi OFG, always good to see you...
Your husband is one lucky man - I hope he realises that.

Actually I don't eat very much at home, only when I travel. I like to cook occasionally, so don't depend entirely on Grandma, which work out well for both of us.

Have a good weekend

masterwordsmith said...

Excellent post that resonates with me. I hail from Penang and the state past time here is also eating :-). Please let me know if ever you are in my neck of the woods. It will be my pleasure to show you some Penang hospitality!

Take care and keep up the fantastic blogging.

May the new year bring you and yours untold blessings!