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Bi-racial partnerships


Dejah
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What a great thread! Some of the comments really made me chuckle.... and mongo, I was thinking the same thing, Asian covers a lot of countries and cuisines...

I'm a round-eye who grew up in a very rural small town so I was never exposed to Asian food of any sort. But while I lived in SF I had a several great friends who were Cantonese, and they pretty much taught me all I know, including how good a bowl of 3 am jook in an little shop in an alley in Chinatown can be after a night of drinking and dancing. After a big exam we'd go out and order off the Chinese menu at seafood places for dinner for 8, even though there were 4 of us, and we'd rarely have many leftovers! We still laugh about our super white friend from Sacramento dipping the shrimp chips that came with the roast chicken into the leftover sauce from the clams with black bean sauce and saying "yummy, chips and dip!" or closing her eyes when we'd pick the crab out of the tank. Then there were all the Saturday morning dim sum gorgings too, where I learned to ask for gok bo cha instead of the house tea and spicy mustard along with the chilli sauces and that duck and chicken feet could actually be tasty. I think the thing is that while my mum had very limited resources she was an adventurous cook and eater and believed in good manners, and you pick that up as a kid.

My partner of 11 years is Fukien by way of Singapore, and actually had a pretty strong bias against Cantonese food (I know, I know). In the early years he'd tell me things like winter melon soup has no flavor, and other sacrilegious comments, while he'd cook up a nasi lemak or a big vat of nonya style chicken curry. Nowadays there are some times he actually craves those simpler/purer dishes, and I have to make some sort of winter melon soup at least once per month during colder weather. When his mum came to visit I realized he got that attitude from her, since she thinks if it's not spicy, it's no good! As it is, I cook most of the Cantonese food, he does the Singaporean. We also eat a lot of Thai food because I love all the herbs, and Italian food because that's part of my dad's side of the family, and Indian because we have dear friends from Madras and Bombay who used to cook for us and now we live too far away and have to cook it ourselves, as well as more country stuff like white bean and ham soup and cornbread which I grew up eating with my mum. I don't think we could limit ourselves to just one type of cuisine, and it makes the leftovers more interesting that way (although, from personal experience, I don't recommend wonton mien and gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce in the same meal). My Cantonese friend from college ended up marrying a white dude from eastern Oregon, and he started out pissing her off because he'd eat all the sung and none of the fan, but he's learned better manners now and can eat a lot of things, even some green vegetables! When he makes his bbq ribs he'll even eat a bowl of rice with them. Her sister married a Korean guy, so she brings suitcases of kimchee from his mother when she comes to visit.

The funniest part about being a bi-racial couple to me is who makes the occasional nasty remarks. In Chicago it was drunk white frat boys, but actually, the meanest things we ever heard were from really old Chinese grandpas in Chinatown. I usually get dragged away at that point, because I also learned a lot of foul language from my friends.

regards,

trillium

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trillium,

Sounds like you have great friends. :smile:

When Bill and I got married, 1966, there were very few bi-racial marriages, except perhaps in Vancouver or Toronto. I didn't get nasty remarks, but lots of rude stares. I was in university at that time, and the Chinese students from abroad would ignore me...until they found out I could cook "real Chinese food".

If you have children, which parent do they resemble? To me, it seems that if the father is mongoloid (is this better? :wink: ) the kids seem to resemble the father more than the mother. My sons are more like their dad, "go bay", whereas my daughter has a "bean bay". They all have round eyes.

They are all very good at eating everything when Po-Po is here. Other times, they will turn their noses up at herbal soups. They do like bitter melon soup with oysters and ginger. Go figure! :rolleyes:

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My Chinese friend has been married to her Mr. McRoundEyes husband for 20 years and when they drove through Portland about oh, 5 or so years ago, she told me she was subject to a lot of rude stares and grumbling white people. Of course her husband didn't notice anything.

So I am Korean-Am and I'm also dating a big pasty-white boy, and when we went to Portland recently, I was ready and raring for any type of attack. But then we got there, and there were so many Asians holding hands with other races (mostly Caucasian) that nobody noticed us. I remarked on this to our (Caucasian) host and he just shrugged and said something about how there's not much difference between (Far East) Asian and Caucasian.

I also think mixed kids are very cute. This new programmer got hired and he's half Nigerian and half white american. he's very cute and speaks 4 languages. not that all mixed kids will be like that but just throwing that out there.

--and Tiger Woods is half black-Am and half Thai and he's good looking and has good teeth.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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I also think mixed kids are very cute.

Cute's ok, but I'm "haafu," and let me tell ya, it's been an interesting ride. I'm not sure parents of mixed children can truly understand the experience. The last time I visited the town where I was born (tiny place high in the mountains of Virginia), I got some stares from people. I felt like saying that my (European and Native) ancestors had been there long before they came along! I've also had odd things happen here in the Big City (Chicago) with all kinds of people. :hmmm:

If nothing else, being mixed helps one to be tolerant and open to new experiences (very useful in eating and cooking!). A sense of humor doesn't hurt, either.

"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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trillium,

If you have children, which parent do they resemble? To me, it seems that if the father is mongoloid (is this better? :wink: ) the kids seem to resemble the father more than the mother.

Ouch!

Mongoloid

Actually, I think the nicest way to differentiate is by geographic location, so I go with South Asian, East Asian and South-east Asian! But that's just me. Or you can do what my mum does in playful retaliation for being called round eye, and say slanty eye... ha ha ha...but maybe only she can get away with that.

No kids here, but every single mixed kid I've seen has been too cute for their own damn good. My best buddy just had a daughter and she's adorable... same friend keeps insisting she needs a "cousin" from us too. I just thought of another Cantonese/x match, my other friend ended up with a Filipino guy and now she cooks damn good lumpia and adobo in addition to all that Cantonese food. He doesn't do much cooking though.

Not to stray too far from cooking, but I think it's better to live in a more diverse place when you're a diverse family with kids. My friend and I talk about this all the time. She doesn't want to raise her kids in some podunk town where the kids are "strange" even though the dad wants to move back to the sticks. She's lucky too, that they'll have a Po-Po who only speaks Cantonese to them.

Jen, I'm glad you had a good experience in Portland, I've never noticed anything at all here, it's one of the more tolerant cities I've lived in, with respect to comments from both races.

regards,

trillium

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Dejah, if you thought being the female half of a biracial couple was tough in the 60s, you have no idea of the problems a Chinese male encounters in small town, bucolic New Brunswick when he walks out with his round-eyed girlfriend :sad: . It seems that it was the duty of every red blooded white person to protect the purity of his race.

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To me, it seems that if the father is mongoloid (is this better? :wink: ) the kids seem to resemble the father more than the mother.

why would any of the fathers resemble me? if this is an attempt to claim palimony i should advise you that my lawyers love nothing more than to talk about my impotence.

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Jen, I'm glad you had a good experience in Portland, I've never noticed anything at all here, it's one of the more tolerant cities I've lived in, with respect to comments from both races.

regards,

trillium

yes, portland is cool. but try doing a road trip through southern oregon. a white ex-girlfriend and i spent the night in that athens of the pacific northwest, gold beach oregon. we went to an "italian" restaurant for dinner--conversation stopped completely when we walked in the door. then again this was a town of psychos in many ways--the special sauces that night were some species of red sauce and some species of lemon based sauce. i asked for the red. the waiter showed up with the food and informed that since he couldn't remember whether i'd asked for the red or the lemon he'd asked the chef to mix them. then again perhaps this was a sociological comment of some sort--and not a positive one since the sauce was all but inedible.

on that same trip (on the way up) we'd spent some nights in ashland at a b&b whose proprietors told us "ashland needs more people like you". strange, since they'd also told us that they'd moved to oregon because "arizona's gotten too liberal for us". they were excellent cooks though--we had some great breakfasts; and i also ate a great venison bourguignonne at a local restaurant for lunch.

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Oh geez, I can't believe I forgot to mention the kids I grew up with. The father was Thai and the mother Swedish. The kids (I think they had 4 or 5 boys) all had varying shades of red hair and freckles, but Asianish features. That was really cool, but I didn't know them enough to find out what kind of food they cooked at home. That would have been really interesting. Can you imagine what a Swedish-Thai restaurant would be like?

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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yes, portland is cool. but try doing a road trip through southern oregon. a white ex-girlfriend and i spent the night in that athens of the pacific northwest, gold beach oregon. we went to an "italian" restaurant for dinner--conversation stopped completely when we walked in the door. then again this was a town of psychos in many ways--the special sauces that night were some species of red sauce and some species of lemon based sauce. i asked for the red. the waiter showed up with the food and informed that since he couldn't remember whether i'd asked for the red or the lemon he'd asked the chef to mix them. then again perhaps this was a sociological comment of some sort--and not a positive one since the sauce was all but inedible.

on that same trip (on the way up) we'd spent some nights in ashland at a b&b whose proprietors told us "ashland needs more people like you". strange, since they'd also told us that they'd moved to oregon because "arizona's gotten too liberal for us". they were excellent cooks though--we had some great breakfasts; and i also ate a great venison bourguignonne at a local restaurant for lunch.

Dude, even the Greek or German guys I work with get funny looks when they go out to the little towns around here. If you look or sound at all different then the norm, you get stared at. Outside of Portland, all bets are off, sad but true. (Honestly, though, if you look anything like your portrait, I'd stare too). Before you analyze the sociological commentary being made with food, I have to ask, are you sure the sauces were edible on their own?

regards,

trillium

Edited by trillium (log)
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Mongo ----

the waiter showed up with the food and informed that since he couldn't remember whether i'd asked for the red or the lemon he'd asked the chef to mix them

HUH??

If it was white clam sauce/red clam sauce I could see the mix but red/lemon??? He never thought of coming back to ask you?? He didn't think you'd find the mix not of your choosing? He chose for you??

I hope you didn't tip him!

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Maybe I am just confused by the references people are making about being of one race or another. Are we talking about individuals who are truly immigrants (i.e. born and raised on the Asian continent) or people who are American, but ethnically of another race?

I am half of a bi-racial couple, but we are both American. As a third generation American of Chinese Ancestry growing up in NYC, I was raised on knishes, bialys, zeppoles, sausage and pepper subs, as well as the real deal Chinese food found in the revolving door of restaurants in NY's Chinatown. While my hubby, who is a WASP from southern California, and I both have fairly experienced palates for the various regional styles of Chinese food, it only constitutes about one tenth of what we eat. I met him in a Mexican restaurant in Honolulu over a pitcher of margaritas.

As the author of a book about foods of the Pyrenees region I constantly answer questions concerning why an ethnically Asian person would explore European cuisine. Not to be the turd in the punchbowl, but I see a double standard and stereotyping of people of Asian ancestry. When a Caucasian American specializes in a cuisine outside of his or her ethnic roots, it's seen as an expansion of one's culinary repertoire. I doubt that the decision to specialize in Mexican cuisine by Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy was interpreted as a rejection of their ancestral European roots, or Barbara Tropp, when she wrote the China Moon Cookbook. Why is it that Caucasian Americans are afforded the intellectual freedom to explore other cuisines of the world, but when one is racially or ethnically distinct, one's food interests are expected to stay within your hereditary roots? I'm all for exploring my roots, I just don't want that to be the only choice I'm allowed.

Uh sorry for the tirade, I was on a roll (no, not a dinner roll). :wink:

The last time I was in Portland, several years ago, I had to say everything twice. Everytime I went up to someone they would get this dazed look in their eyes, and when I stopped talking, would say, "What?" I think they couldn't believe I was speaking unaccented English. Mr. Ed probably got the same reaction a lot when people came up to his stall. :laugh:

Marina C.

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Umm, boy were you on a roll!! Ha ha. Maybe one of the people in charge can delete some of those repeats!

I didn't start this thread, but I think it's more of a discussion about what happens when two different food cultures meet under the same roof. Especially what happens with a Chinese food culture vs. x culture. There is a "Chinese" restaurant in nearly every town, and it hardly ever resembles food cooked in the homes of recently arrived or 3 generations ago arrived ethnic Chinese. I think it's an interesting discussion, and in no way implies that you have to limit yourself or expertise to the ethnic food culture you came from! For example, in my house, I like Cantonese food more then the ethnic (southern) Chinese guy!

I'm so sorry you're running into double standards when it comes to an ethnic Asian doing food writing on foods other than Asian, but I don't think you'll find that here.

I'm guessing that your race had nothing to do with people asking you to repeat yourself here in Portland (Oregon, right?). When I moved here from Chicago the same thing happened to me and I'm not Asian. It's most likely that you were speaking much faster then people here are accustomed to following. I've had to slow down and make time for please and thank you and good morning when you pass someone on the sidewalk. At first it was disconcerting, but now I really enjoy it.

regards,

trillium

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As the author of a book about foods of the Pyrenees region I constantly answer questions concerning why an ethnically Asian person would explore European cuisine.  Not to be the turd in the punchbowl, but I see a double standard and stereotyping of people of Asian ancestry. ...

Uh sorry for the tirade, I was on a roll (no, not a dinner roll). :wink:

Well Marina, if I were to ask you that question the implication would be "Why do you neglect a superior cuisine for an inferior one?" :laugh:

Remember, this is a Chinese cuisine forum, frequented by people who love Chinese food. The OP is a Canadian-born Chinese who happens to be married to an Anglo. She's also a teacher of Chinese cooking, and her problem for the day was "When a person grounded in Chinese cuisine meets one grounded in a different cuisine, what are the mechanisms of approchement, and what obstacles are presented?" If it's about non-Chinese adapting to Chinese cuisine, and not the converse, it's simply because of the context.

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I believe that Marina is speaking of the unspoken but darker side of the discussion. I'll leave that to the readers' imagination. :sad: But this is not the forum to discuss "that which must not be mentioned here".

Just for the record, I speak unaccented English and I get the same reaction from a certain type of monosyllabic speaking people.

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Just for the record, I speak unaccented English and I get the same reaction from a certain type of monosyllabic speaking people.

I always thought they were just momentarily dazzled by my exotic beauty! :laugh:

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I believe that Marina is speaking of the unspoken but  darker side of the discussion. I'll leave that to the readers' imagination.  :sad: But this is not the forum to discuss "that which must not be mentioned here".

Of course there's a darker side of the experience of bi-racial partners, as has been mentioned by you and a couple of other posters, but I, for one, don't don't see any devious undercurrents in the on-topic discourse here.

If you really want to get into it, my wife would probably tell you she she gets more pain from her treatment by Cantonese for being non-Cantonese speaking than by her treatment by non-Chinese for being Chinese (just try applying for a job at the Chinatown branch of the state Employment Development Department).

We once took a "Gamblers' Special" bus to Reno, and the tour guide (who happened to be from Nanjing) periodically adressed the group in Mandarin, even though some of the older members of the largely Cantonese group could not understand it, as they had never had to study Mandarin. Finally one younger man in the group admonished the tour guide:

"This is America. You should learn a little Cantonese."

It's out there in many forms. Heck, I get second looks (make that third looks) in China for using my chopsticks with my left hand.

It's just pollution, IMHO . Meanwhile, chifan liao!

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Sorry for those multiple posts. I kept getting an error message that I wasn't reaching my server, so I dutifully kept going back and hitting the key to post my reply. Turned out that it posted every time. :wacko: Thanks to the eGullet elves who deleted all the repeats.

Points were well taken that this is a forum about Chinese cuisine. I guess I just went off on a tangent and kept going.

In trying to keep within the spirit of this thread, my parents although both of the same race had cultural differences due to my father being an ABC from Hawaii and my mother being from Northern China. As a Honolulu boy, my father was raised on Spam, Vienna Sausages and macaroni salad. My mom tried to accommodate his cravings for this Hawaiian comfort food, and we kids couldn't figure out why we were the only ones in the neighborhood who ever ate Spam sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread, or why none of our friends ever ate Vienna sausage snacks. Does that qualify as Chinese food, if a Chinese person makes it? :wink:

(Edited for glaring grammatical error.)

Edited by Marina Chang (log)

Marina C.

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My mom tried to accommodate his cravings for this Hawaiian comfort food, and we kids couldn't figure out why we were the only ones in the neighborhood who ever ate Spam sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread, or why none of our friends ever ate Vienna sausage snacks.  Does that qualify as Chinese food, if a Chinese person makes it?  :wink:

Spam and vienna sausages are very common in Hong Kong too.

In the States, there seems to be two groups of people: those who love Spam love it. Those who don't like it, or don't know what it is, would avoid it like a plague.

The Spam in Hong Kong is not imported from the US. It's Spam-like canned pork (and other ingredients of course) made in Mainland China. We like to slice it, lightly fry it to get the crispy skin, and eat it with rice or ramen noodles or in a sandwich or in an omlette. Growing up, I thought Vienna sausage is the only sausage there is!

Sorry... went off on a tangent. It's still about food though. :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Spam and vienna sausages are very common in Hong Kong too.

In the States, there seems to be two groups of people:  those who love Spam love it.  Those who don't like it, or don't know what it is, would avoid it like a plague.

The Spam in Hong Kong is not imported from the US.  It's Spam-like canned pork (and other ingredients of course) made in Mainland China.  We like to slice it, lightly fry it to get the crispy skin, and eat it with rice or ramen noodles or in a sandwich or in an omlette.  Growing up, I thought Vienna sausage is the only sausage there is!

Sorry... went off on a tangent.  It's still about food though.  :smile:

Heh, the luncheon meat made in China is much better than Spam. :wub: East over eggs and pan fried luncheon meat over instant noodle is great for breakfast or anytime. Vienna Sausage is common during party, we like to put it on a toothpick with pineapple....... But now, I think most Hong Kongers would not buy it since there is a larger variety of sausage available.

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Sorry... went off on a tangent.  It's still about food though.  :smile:

Not really, Spam is still a cross-culture topic.

I have a hapa (Japanese-Caucasian, in her case) friend from Honolulu. Growing up, "Hawaiian Steak" for Sunday dinner was the highlight for her of home cooking. "Hawaiian Steak" was Spam.

In China, the Chinese equivalent of Spam is sometimes sliced up and served as one of the "cold dish" appetizers at a banquet-style meal. It's less saltier and tastier than the Spam we are used to in the US.

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Heh, the luncheon meat made in China is much better than Spam. :wub:

So, what's in Chinese luncheon meat?

I've never had the experience. :huh:

It is just a Chinese version of Spam. The brand that is the most popular is Maling.But there are so many fack one out there, be careful.

I need to restrain myself from eating a whole can in one sitting, they should sell some mini can version here.

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