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Saturday, November 12, 2011

When is it Time to Disown Your Uncle?

Sometimes it has to be done. Tonight the decision was clear for me. I will never see that uncle again.

I could forgive the annoying trangressions that built up over time, things that seemed to heal with a little distance. But it just never got better. I heard it put something like this: Anyone can get survive a crisis; it’s the tiny, everyday ankle biting that will get you in the end.

So while there was nothing fatal with this uncle, tonight was enough, because he tampered with my food.

In the past, it was irritations like when I went hungry because he locked me out of the kitchen after ten p.m. It was “too late” to eat.

I forgave him when he ran up my credit card over what we agreed on, chalking it up to an innocent mistake.

It made me nervous, but I let it pass when his gang barked at me in whatever code they had, mocking me, I’m sure. They would pretend they couldn’t understand me, and stole my money when I tried to pay for food.

All under Uncle Jiang's direction.

On to tonight: Dinner.
Chicken Chow Mein. Exhibit A:

Uncle Jiang's Chinese Take Out

Chicken Chow Mein does not consist of a few spindly shreds from an anemic chicken (? somewhat suspect) smothered in onions. See the two bright orange threads there? Those are purely for medical reasons. They exist only so that the diner can rest assured that she has not suddenly gone color blind from the lack of real green chow mein vegetables.
On the other hand, Uncle Jiang may have been looking out for my best interests, knowing the wicked ways of men, perhaps he filled the chicken chow mein exclusively with onions to keep single men at a kilometer's distance. Oh Uncle Jiang! Have I completely misread you?

Exhibit B:

Egg Foo Young

Yes, that dark brown ca-ca on the upper left is the egg. Yes, I was so hungry that I hurried and ate some, lest Uncle Jiang chase me out of the kitchen at ten o'clock. Yes, my stomach is doing some Chinese martial art on itself.
See the brown "gravy" stuff? Egg Foo Young traditionally comes with a light brown gravy, thickened with a bit of cornstarch, and the barest hint of black pepper. Good gravy gives American style gravy a run for its money. This? Is sloppy, lazy bottled hoisin sauce poured into a styrofoam cup. You think I don't know, Uncle Jiang? You think you can pull the wool over my eyes and finely tuned palate? I have the taste buds of a thousand generations of picky eaters.

I think we're done here. 

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