Friday, 30 October 2009 by Dr Maytel
Unlike the family feasts on SBS*, at my Chinese family feasts no one is slaving over a hot stove. Here you do not learn to cook. That is for the kitchen staff at the Chinese restaurant you have chosen and inevitably have vouchers for. Here one learns to eat and possibly dispute the bill.
Ten courses...two tables...four hours.....lots of tea
We started with soup. I think it was crab (no shark fins anymore....seems my family has decided to shun the delicacy)
Goose feet noodles
Fish with preserved ginger and plums (Chinese umeboshi style)
Sizzling prawns with spring onion, garlic and corriander
Minced Peking duck as a side with congee
congee also accompanied by stir fried veges and omelette...just count those dipping sauces
Dessert...sweet plus cripsy biscuit thingy
It was a very sweet farewell dinner. For a family which by culture I would not describe as particularly expressive of their emotions it was quite an overwhelming display of affection. I was laden with compliments and gifts. My aunties all hugged me and my uncles passed on some of my late Ama's jewellery. One of my cousin's searching for something nice to say told me I had a lovely voice. I left feeling sad to leave them all behind.
*Oh and also, if you happen to be reading this and work for SBS I have a crossover reality show idea for you - My Family Feast meets Border Control. Large ethnic families have to try and make it into Australia with all the authentic ingredients they can without having them all confiscated by customs....the family with the least number of substitutes wins!!!!