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Bi-racial partnerships


Dejah
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Just curious, as I seem to think there are several Asian posters in this forum who have a non-Asianpartner, and Caucasian posters with Asian partners.

If you are Chinese, with a caucasian partner, did he or she know about and enjoy Chinese food before they met you? Was Americanized Chinese food their main experience? Did it take time before they tried traditional foods? Do they help in the cooking of same?

Gary, were you "experienced" in Chinese cuisine before you met your wife from Shanghai? You've been singled out due to your expertise. :biggrin:

Those of you who are Caucasian with Asian spouses/s.o., what are your experiences with traditional Chinese food?

My husband is caucasian. He had this first taste of Chinese food when he left home for college. Every prairie town had its Chinese restaurant, all serving the same chop suey of that time. He thought it was great. Then along came me;-). Peasant fare was a totally new experience for him but he loved everything. He does not cook! :angry: His parents, a different story. Gramma and Mom only liked rice in rice pudding. Chop suey and sweet 'n' sour was ok...with potatoes :laugh: , but authentic Chinese...peking duck...steamed chicken... steamed whole fish,...:rolleyes: My father-in-law was more adventurous. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My DH's Caucasian and I'm Chinese-American. He grew up in a NY WASP family and said that, other than the baking, he hated the food. After college he discovered sushi and other ethnic foods but he's never delved into anything other than basic Chinese food until we started going out. Luckily he was an adventurous eater, just never had the exposure. Now he eats many Chinese dishes that I won't even touch.

No, he doesn't cook.

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My DH's Caucasian and I'm Chinese-American. He grew up in a NY WASP family and said that, other than the baking, he hated the food. After college he discovered sushi and other ethnic foods but he's never delved into anything other than basic Chinese food until we started going out. Luckily he was an adventurous eater, just never had the exposure. Now he eats many Chinese dishes that I won't even touch.

No, he doesn't cook.

aren't there also people from one part of asia with partners from other parts?

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I'm half-Japanese and was married to a Caucasian man for awhile. He seemed to enjoy some of the foods I introduced him to, but his preference was for the meat-and-potatoes fare that he was accustomed to (he grew up on a farm in Iowa). He would eat "safe" things like teriyaki or stir-fry, and he didn't mind if I went for more exotic things. We split up, but not really for food-related issues. :smile:

There's an interesting scene in the book Eating Chinese Food Naked in which the protagonist realizes she can't stay with her Caucasian boyfriend because he has no sense of etiquette and snags all the best bits for himself when he is invited to dinner.

Edited for typo

Edited by chile_peppa (log)
"It is a fact that he once made a tray of spanakopita using Pam rather than melted butter. Still, though, at least he tries." -- David Sedaris
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There's an interesting scene in the book Eating Chinese Food Naked in which the protagonist realizes she can't stay with her Caucasian boyfriend because he has no sense of etiquette and snags all the best bits for himself when he is invited to dinner.

That reminds me of the scene from the Joy Luck Club (the movie, never did read the book) where the American husband of one of the characters agreed with his Chinese m-i-l that a dish she prepared was "no good", not realizing that it was customary for her to criticize her own cooking, but a major faux pas to agree with her! :laugh::laugh:

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Moi? I was experienced enough from 30 years living in San Francisco (mostly within walking distance of Chinatown) to know good Cantonese food from Chinese-American food, though I din't have much breadth of experience in other regional cusines. More importantly, I liked Chinese food enough that when I first went to Shanghai for four weeks in 1992 I didn't miss Western food at all.

My wife is grateful that I have a "Chinese stomach" because she doesn't know how to cook Western food, nor has she much interest in doing so. I figure I now have about 4,000 home-cooked Shanghainese dinners under my belt (literally :laugh: ) and almost as many lunchtime reprises of the same. There's obviously a lot of repetition, but she's constantly varying her approach and every so often something totally new pops out of her memory banks. She's also good at "reverse engineering" any new dish we try in a restaurant that she happens to like.

Is your MIL Anglo-Canadian? If so I bet she also likes rice served in a bowl with fresh milk, butter and sugar added, though that may be more eastern Canadian.

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aren't there also people from one part of asia with partners from other parts?

Good point, mongo_jones :smile: Pick this up and run with it.

I was having a h#&* of a time phrasing this question, but I am really inquisitive about bi-racial partnerships and food! :smile:

Gary, my m-i-l is of Scottish descent, married to Anglo-Saxon, living and farming on the Canadian prairies. Everything was well done meat and potatoes. But Man! Nana used to make the greatest shortbread and custard pies. :wub:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My wife is grateful that I have a "Chinese stomach" because she doesn't know how to cook Western food, nor has she much interest in doing so.

Gary, do you eat only Chinese food?

I'm Chinese yet every so often I get cravings for ciabatta dipped in olive oil, a good gyros, or aged cheddar and water crackers.

How does that saying go? Man does not live on rice alone. :raz:

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That reminds me of the scene from the Joy Luck Club (the movie, never did read the book) where the American husband of one of the characters agreed with his Chinese m-i-l that a dish she prepared was "no good", not realizing that it was customary for her to criticize her own cooking, but a major faux pas to agree with her!  :laugh:  :laugh:

That may have been a B/F who didn't make the cut. As I recall, he said "It just needs a little soy sauce," and proceeded to pour some on it.

Incidentally, my Sister-in-law's first job when she came to the US was as an extra in "The Joy Luck Club". She was a maiden attendant in the wedding scene between the teenage girl and the young boy in China. It was filmed in a warehouse in Richmond, California.

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That may have been a B/F who didn't make the cut.  As I recall, he said "It just needs a little soy sauce," and proceeded to pour some on it.

Yes, that's right. Hilarious! I can remember that look on the mother's face. It was an anger no words can express. After all, what could she say?

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Not chinese but....

I am caucasian and my husband is Japanese, I didn't eat my first Japanese food until I was in college and even then the first couple times were at Benihana style steak houses with the knife throwing chefs and food that tastes like nothing I have ever eaten in Japan....

Before I met my husband I lived with an ex-boyfriend, also Japanese, for almost 4 years, he hated western food. The first two meals I "cooked" for him were pasta (jarred sauce) and tacos, hey I was only 20 and had never cooked until then. Well he declared both meals unfit for humans and dumped them in the sink, hard to believe I gave him another three years!

Anyway I went out an got a Japanese cookbook and got quite good, for teh next couple years I cooked daily for not only him but 4 to 6 of his single male Japanese friends as well.

By the time I left him and met my husband, I not only loved Japanese food, I knew more about it then he did!

one think I do notice though is that my comfort foods are still more American, when I am nauseaous I send him to the store for white bread and ginger ale, the thought of okayu (rice gruel) makes me even sicker...

and during all three pregnnancies I had major cravings for things like tacos, stuffed cabbage, pizza, mac and cheese, etc.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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....aged cheddar and water crackers.

Gosh, where did you come up with that? That's my midnight snack! I just got back from a trip through upstate New York and Montreal and brought back some 2-year old, 3-year old and 5-year old cheddars.

I also can't do without peanut butter (natural style) and good sausages. A sausage sandwich is my weekend breakfast indulgence, while my wife sleeps in.

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I'm Chinese and my wife is Puerto Rican (from Buffalo). Her whole experience with Chinese food had been bad take-out. While she has gotten used to eating many dishes, her preferences still lean towards the Chinese-American dishes. She does surprise me every now and then by liking something I would never have thought she'd eat. On the other hand, mostly she doesn't. However, she's a picky eater in general so I shoudn't be surprised. It's the same with French, Italian, seafood, etc.

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I'm ABC and going out with a British guy. He's pretty good with Chinese food because he's been living in Hong Kong longer than I have. He ate Chinese-British food when he was growing up in England - at some of the places there, they offer the option of chips (French fries, to you and me) instead of rice!!

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I met my wife 33 years ago - two "immigrants" who got attracted to each other very slowly. She was from England and well, I came from a village about 50 miles from whence Dejah came. My wife did not have any experience with Chinese food other than a few times with the normal take out stuff. When we moved in together, it was such a struggle for her to make supper every night following recipes, that it frustrated me all to hell, knowing that I could do in 20 minutes what it took her an hour to do (growing up in Chinese restaurants helps) . So eventually I took over that department, except for desserts and baking, at which she is a master. Except for the traditional Holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. where she does admirable roasts, we have lived with this arrangement successfully for 32 years. I would say that a good 95% of our meals are Chinese...by popular choice.

My first Chinese meals were a revelation to her! The broccoli was actually green and shaped like broccoli, not some greenish grey mush that she was used to, the steamed fish was actually delicious without being fried, the bbq pork was nothing she had experienced. In short, every meal was a new discovery, and much to her credit, she relished everything that was put in front of her, including haum yu fried rice, fuyu chow green beans, doufu dishes, belly pork, etc. Just last week by accident she had some of my salmon bellies steamed with haum ha and ginger( a comfort dish I made for myself one evening when she did an evening shift). Well, she asked me to make it three times since :wub: . Oh, did I say she was a fantastic dessert and bakery cook? :smile:

Edited by Ben Hong (log)
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my father is American and he had no previous experience with anything but American Chinese food, though he did have some trips to Chinatown where those around him were sampling more exotic things before meeting my mother. His one life lesson involving food was simple, never order a hamburger at a Chinese restaurant. But that's how he is, a very typical "meat and potatoes" American eater. He really hasn't gotten much of an "intro" to traditional Chinese foods and when he has he typically resisted them (outside of the BJ duck for Thanksgiving, etc)...However, in the past few years, because of health reasons, he has been forced to give up eating beef as much and has started embracing some of the more traditional foods my mother cooks.

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My wife and all her brothers are practically ABC. Her family came to the US when they were ranged from babies to kinda garden age. Her brothers all married caucasians. She chose to stick with her own race.

Even her brothers don't care much for Chinese food, let alone their wives. Their daily meals are hamburgers (dinner), fried chickens, pizza, pasta, mexican tacos/enchiladas, and some country cookings. I don't blame her brothers. They, as well as my wife, suffered since childhood from bland home CANTONESE cooking. Twice a week of brocoli (cooked to as soft as tofu) and beef, twice a week of chicken with black beans -- all cooked with no salt or garlic. My MIL's motto is "either eat it or starve".

My DD had no interest in Chinese food until she met me. Gradually she's re-exposed to the culture and the culinary art again. Now she has what Hong Kongers called "a sharp tongue" - a skill to distinguish even the minute difference in taste in different dishes.

The family gets together every couple months or so, either over dim sum or family dinners. That may be the only times her brothers and their spouses/children eat Chinese meals. Interestingly all our nieces and nephews, all of whom half-white and half-Chinese of course, love to eat rice and related products. Steamed rice, fried rice, sticky rice, cheung fun, chow fun, chow mein, baos... they gabble them all down. Their wives take on minimum portion of each dish for politeness sake, and never touched any sauteed seafood (shrimp, squid, scallop or crab). Any seafood that is not fried in batter does not interest them.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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They, as well as my wife, suffered since childhood from bland homemade CANTONESE cooking.

I think this should have been edited to "bland home cooking" :angry::blink::laugh::laugh:

What is it about water crackers?! Is it because they are bigger?

crisper? holds a big hunk of cheese and not break apart like a soda cracker? I love these for snacks.

In our house, we eat about 75% Chinese and 25% other. If I give the choice of prime rib or Chinese.... it would be prime rib with rice au jus. :biggrin:

How about your children and non- Asian in-laws? Do they enjoy traditional fare such as herbal soups, shark fin soup? fish maw? bull frog sechuan? :huh:

My mom loves Bill because he will eat and appreciate everything., except fish eyeballs. :laugh:

I appreciate all your posts to my question. What prompt me to start this was an e-mail from a young Eurasian lady, from Brooklyn, who is presently teaching ESL in China. This is what she wrote:

"grew up savoring trips to visit my grandparents and eat Chinese food. But though I love the food, I find myself at age 25 without the language skills, vocabulary, and context to fully appreciate the food that I love. As such, I have decided to learn about more about China. One month ago, I moved to Jiujiang City in Jiangxi Province to teach English. I have been here one month, and am just now beginning to expand my food vocabulary (albeit in Mandarin). My food adventures are chronicled on my own blog: http://www.wrappedindough.com "

I think it's great that our children have these opportunities and take the initiative to explore their roots, especially through food! :biggrin:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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They, as well as my wife, suffered since childhood from bland homemade CANTONESE cooking. 

I think this should have been edited to "bland home cooking"  :angry:  :blink:  :laugh:  :laugh: 

Yes, miss Dejah. I edited it. Originally I typed in "bland homemade CANTONESE food", then I changed it to mean home cooking but messed up. No, it must be pointed out it is bland CANTONESE cooking. :smile:

We don't have any kid. If we did, I will make sure he/she will eat everything I and Mom eat. Though, we are not too big on fish eye balls. Pork blood, definitely. Chicken head, maybe. "Eat it or starve", that's such a good model...ha ha.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I am English, married to a Chinese woman. I lived in China for several years before we met, so was well aware of 'real' Chinese food.

We still live in China and I do all the cooking. She can't cook. She can't boil water without a major screw-up!

But I love her.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Yeah, Mongo, but that wasn't the question. ;)

i wasn't sure what groups the question was referring to given this:

Just curious, as I seem to think there are several Asian posters in this forum who have a non-Asianpartner, and Caucasian posters with Asian partners.

and this:

Those of you who are Caucasian with Asian spouses/s.o., what are your experiences with traditional Chinese food?

i am always getting confused by the use of the word "asian" in north america--in some places it seems to mean "chinese"; in other places it seems to more generically mean "anyone from the pacific rim"; sometimes all these meanings seem to slip into each other. this confusion is rarely clarified by usage on egullet (i remember someone once asking for a recipe for asian bbq pork--yes, but which part of asia?).

me, i'm indian and my wife is korean-american (though born and raised till age 10 in south korea)--we've had little trouble with traditional chinese food. or with adjusting to each other's foods. partly because we're both greedy, partly because we both come from rice-eating cultures (bengalis eat almost as much rice as koreans), partly because we both like and cook spicy food. my parents were introduced to korean food by mrs. jones and they love it as well--her folks are less into indian food: though the indian food we had at our wedding was a hugely exotic hit with the korean guests.

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i am always getting confused by the use of the word "asian" in north america-

This is a good point, it wasn't until college when I first heard "Asian" to mean people from "south asia" along the lines of the Brit usage of the word.

To go back to my first post, I forgot to go into my own analysis as I guess I'm one of the biracial kids that could be referring to, though I think its obvious I love Chinese food (but also love all other kinds of food as well). However I grew up in China and so I have no problem with eating the more traditional food, my brother grew up in the US and wasn't as exposed to the Chinese culture (his favorite "Chinese" food makes me cringe, beef chop suey). He is a bit more daring than my father in trying Chinese or other Asian foods, but still avoids a lot of the "stranger" things...

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I'm not caucasian and am not married but I can tell you about my favorite uncle and his best friend- they're both caucasian and they're both married to Chinese women. They both don't cook but stayed in Taiwan for quite a while- before that, they both didn't have very much experience with Chinese food. .. not to mention, they've got the cutest kids!

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