Anne Mendelson Cited Me

Just today I was reading my copy of Chow Chop Suey that I bought several weeks back at the AAS Conference. A third of the way through the book, Anne mentioned the Suiyuan Shidan.

When I turned to the Reference section at the back to see what sources she referenced, I saw it. There.  Right smack dab there among the hundreds of other cited works was my name and the URL of this site.

H**Y C**P. I AM AN AUTHORITY ON THE SUIYUAN SHIDAN.

Yes, it’s just a tiny citation, and yes she also cited Gene Anderson and Beilei Pu, but just let me bask in the glory for a bit. When I started this project more than 3 years ago near the end of my Doctorate I didn’t think that anyone would read this, much less cite it. But since then a good stream of people interesting in the Suiyuan Shidan and its translation has come here and used it as a research resource. Then quite recently Gene Anderson told me that he thought my translation was quite good, and then now the Anne Mendelson cites it? I am elated.

It’s good to know that you’re not a complete phony.

Anyways, back to Chow Chop Suey. It’s superbly researched, it reads like a joy, and it’s arguably better than any book written on the subject for either lay or academic readers. If the history of Chinese cuisine in North America is your thing, then this is your book.

Actually, you know what? If you’re reading stuff from this site, you should probably be buying one for yourself anyways. And just for completeness, get a copy for everyone your family 🙂

The Story of Every Restaurant I Ever Cared About.

Once upon a time, the new owner of a relatively famous restaurant wanted to cut cost at his little acquisition to start reaping in the cash. Naturally, he swapped out everybody who was good and cared about their work with a bunch of culinary school graduates and decided to switch to lower grade ingredients all around. After all, how many of those fressing fools with wallets out there could tell the difference? Or care? They should be happy just eating at his relatively famous restaurant!

For the first half of the year, business went swimmingly and much cash reaping was had. But then the old clients stopped coming back, and then almost imperceptibly, customers thinned out and thinned out until one day the once bustling restaurant space hung empty.

No more than two years later, the restaurant closed and what remaining assets were liquidated to pay the angry creditors. The owner, after the sordid experience decided that restaurants were not really his thing.

So he bought a lovely pastry shop down the street with the money he had made off with, just to see how things would fair with baked goods instead.

The Pacific – Ling Yu (太平洋 – 零雨)

Today, a small detour from the regular content: a gem of a piece of poetry by Taiwanese writer and poet, Ling Yu (零雨).

To me this poem evokes the experience of so many Chinese that have left our families and former homelands to pursue a dream on the other side of the Pacific. Here our cultural identities, habits, and thoughts slowly faded away, being washed and bleached to faint imprints and shadows.

Then one day, by accident, we rediscover pieces of our past like bits driftwood washing up on the beach. It is only then the we frantically try to reclaim and reconstruct our lost identities. As we are left wondering how we could have unwittingly abandoned all of these memories and emotion through the hurried blur of our lives, we find ourselves nurturing the next generation in our rather bewildered state, for whatever is to come.

The Pacific – Ling Yu
Losing ourselves, in the ocean. Carrying the entirety of
Our scattered fragments. Coursing towards the East. To that Promised-land
Afar.

Emotions. Beliefs. Memories. Slowly distancing themselves.

At that time, we allowed our tears to fall in torrents. Trivial,
In the surging currents of the ocean. And we turn.
One day, we will turn. To welcome that which has drifted over from the other side.

Emotions. Beliefs. Memories. Riding that feeling
Of exhilaration. Causing our blood to re-emerge anew. Surprised at how
Surreptitiously, we gave away that moment. How. That moment
Had been forgotten through time.

Now
I too have a child.
You are in my bosom
Suckling.

太平洋 – 零雨
我們正在失去。在海中。載著我們所有
散失之物。往東流去。到另一繁華
的彼處

情感。信仰。記憶。漸漸遠離──

那時我們將淚眼滂沱。微不足道
加入大海的洪流。然後轉身。有一日
將轉身。迎接另一處漂流而來的──

情感。信仰。記憶。並感覺那種
激動。使我們的血液重新湧現。並驚訝
偷偷換過的那一刻。如何。那一刻
被時間忘卻

這時
我也有了一個兒子
你在。我的懷中
吸吮