Cultural adjustment/adaptation is one topic that you’d expect to have with people who have moved countries. But what I find really interesting is how we can adapt cultures in the form of small traditions or holidays, into our own, even if we haven’t lived in the countries. We’ve been celebrating Chinese New Year for as long as I can remember. And we don’t have an ounce of Chinese in us anywhere. Granted, our celebration is probably not very traditional, but we’ve taken snippets and made it our own. Without fail, every year, we bring out our Mah Jongg set, to be used as an oracle–interpreting the upcoming year. We read through our horoscopes in the Chinese Horoscope book-the rabbit (me), the horse (my sister), the snake (my mom) and the sheep (dad). Although he scoffs at our believing in the whole horoscope thing and sprouts off statistical information as to why it shouldn’t be believed. What we all connect over though, is the food. Foods like whole fish, long noodles, mandarins, nian gao (year cake), and jiaozi dumplings would be commonly served by the sounds of it.
What we serve comes down to time- plenty of time, we’ll do several vegetarian, chicken and rice dishes. Rushing last minute? We’ll whip together a noodle dish, throw some pre-made spring rolls into the oven, and call it a day. One of the foods mentioned in The Joy Luck Club is wonton soup. I’ve never been much of a soup person, but I’ve taken a liking to this dish–mostly the dumplings. It takes a little bit of prep work to prepare the wonton dumplings, but the results are worth it.