Sunday, October 22, 2006

little kitchen on the condo

In my youth, I would hide from my mother behind the sofa so that I could read Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Back then, the incongruity of a t-shirt wearing, Asian-American girl dreaming about being Laura Ingalls was lost on me. I longed for calico dresses and my mouth watered for such exotic foods like fried potatoes with salt pork, mashed turnips and hulled corn.

But, now, no more! I’ve been captivated by my recent purchase of The Little House Cookbook. It’s been in existence for over 20 years, but I’ve just discovered it. My inner child rejoices! Finally, I can actually taste the foods I’ve read about for so long.

And so far I have made Almanzo Wilder’s favorite dish: apples n’onions. It’s a pretty easy dish (fry apples and onions) but the gastronomical joy is great. Highly recommended. Even my husband, who looked at it curiously upon being served, admitted, “This stuff is pretty good.”

This tasty achievement, of course, leads me to fantasizing about a cookbook made from my own books. My mind explodes with possibilities. It could be a cookbook filled with Asian cuisine recipes, just like the dishes my mother cooked for me. Who knows, perhaps kids reading my books are suddenly developing a craving for bowls of white rice, sweet pork buns and stir-fried noodles. It could be a smash hit.

But reality sinks in. I realize that my book is called The Year of the Dog and that is just not an appetizing title for a cookbook.

Which is not the first time my titles have thwarted me. Just be glad that the cupcakes I’m making for our Cupcake Contest (that YOU can win) are not from a cookbook called, The Year of the Rat.


Anonymous said...

Me, too! I wanted to be Laura, too! And it wasn't until I had a Japanese-American teacher in the 4th grade that I learned/figured out MY ancestors did NOT come over on the Mayflower. (I'm 3rd generation Japanese-American.)

Those dishes sound YUM! I always wondered about the mouth-watering fried pig's tail. Not that I want to eat it now, but I remember thinking it sounded really delicious.

debbi michiko florence

alvinaling said...

whoops, I just made a comment that I meant to be made on Grace's personal blog--too many windows open at the same time!

I just went apple picking yesterday--maybe I should cook up some apples n'onions.

And yes, there may be many inappropriate jokes about Asians if you published a cookbook called YEAR OF THE DOG. Or YEAR OF THE RAT.

Anonymous said...

I once heard on a different blog that "Food is the porn of children's literature". It is true. And I should mention, Grace, that I read "Year of the Dog" while sitting for 4 hours on an airplane runway where they refused to serve us any food at all. So here I was reading about the most delicious dishes this side of Wilder. There should be warning labels put on that book, missy! I'm lucky to have gotten the drool stains out.

Grace Lin said...

Debbi-it took me a while to make the connection that MY ancestors were not like Laura Ingalls, too. And that was a sad, sad day.

Alvina-make sure you sprinkle some brown sugar when you fry those applesn'onions. makes all the difference. And sweet italian sausage adds a nice spice too.

Fuse, I've heard the same quote but it went something like, "The word 'underwear' is like porn for children's literature." Somehow food and the word 'underwear' is achille's heel for kids...

Elaine Magliaro said...


You could change the title of THE YEAR OF THE DOG to THE YEAR OF THE HOT DOG. I don't think there's much you can do with THE YEAR OF THE RAT, though.


alvinaling said...

Haha--Elaine, that's pretty good.

The DIM SUM title would be nice, but dim sum isn't Taiwanese. Maybe it should be called UGLY VEGETABLE SOUP.