Can you believe we’re almost at the two week mark until Thanksgiving? (Which means December holiday-fest is right around the corner and didn’t you know that you are pretty much already-late?)
Being an immigrant household – though we’ve lived in the States for 20+ years already, where does the time go?! – Thanksgiving to us means a lot of the same things that it does for other households, though the ingredients in the kitchen and the dishes on the dining table tend to differ. Heck, some years we don’t even have turkey (ever try to find a turkey for just four-to-six people? It’s called chicken).
My parents aren’t big sausage-stuffing-with-garlic-mashed-potatoes-mixed-marshmallow-yam people, but we’ve got some of our favored holiday-esque dishes. My mom always makes lion’s head meatballs, which are typically a Chinese New Year tradition but I’ve loved them since I was a kid (I loved to squish the meatballs up and mix it in white rice). Dad makes hong shao rou, which is beef braised in a spiced soy sauce broth, which is great as a rice noodle soup, but we leave it sliced on a platter to be eaten with rice or in a makeshift sammie with a bao tze, or steamed rice bun.
When I was little and my grandmother used to come up for the holiday, she used to make these cute bunny-shaped bao tze – I still remember her snipping the bunny ears with scissors before she put the buns to steam. My grandmother was a talented cook and back in the day she and my mom would work through the morning hand making pork dumplings – mixing the filling together with the hand rolled wrappers, everything made from scratch, even putting in the perfect row of crimps on each dumpling (I had a dumpling press to help make mine passable, but for sure I always over-filled mine).
My fave special holiday dish in the world though? Fried scallion pancakes, the more oiled up scallion filling, the better. Nobody made them as good as my grandmother, though Joe’s Shanghai in NYC comes awful close.
So now that I’ve managed to turn myself from being perfectly content to raving starving for some good ethnic grub, what about you? With the big T-day fast approaching, what are you craving? What are some of your fave family dishes, traditional or not?
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