Jun 6, 2011

White Girls Eat Hot Dogs

One of my best friends in elementary school was from Hong Kong. Her family had moved to Canada when she was 3 years old, so she had a little bit of an accent, but her English was great. Her mother, on the other hand, did not speak English. Whenever I would go over to their house, she would do one of two things: Either smile and nod her head quietly in my general direction; or yell at Zoe at the top of her lungs.

Or at least I always thought it was yelling.

I was only 8 and to be honest, that women scared the shit out of me. I just assumed she was angry all the time - or even worse, angry that I was there. Aside from the mother issue, I was fascinated by their house.

The colours. The smells. The décor. It was all so very different from my house.

My favourite was their pantry. It was fully stocked with goodies - well, the bottom 4 shelves, anyway. Every sugary treat of goodness you could think of - and everything I wasn't allowed to have at my own home.

Wagon wheels. Jellybeans. Twinkies. Cookies. Fuzzy Peaches. Coke bottles. You name it; it was there.

I was in heaven.

In complete contrast, the top 2 shelves were filled with items such as seaweed, dried fish heads and chicken feet. They looked like terrifying science experiments to an 8 year old Caucasian girl who's understanding of multicultural food was that Chicken Parmesan was Italian.

Every time I stayed over for dinner, which was often, her mother would make an elaborate traditional Chinese dinner for herself, her husband, her son and Zoe... and then she would place 2 boiled hot dogs with ketchup on my plate. I never questioned it; I was being polite... and I was 8.

Every. Single. Time. It was a damn good thing I liked hot dogs.

It took me THREE YEARS before I finally got the courage to ask my friend about her mother. It was just after she had yelled at Zoe through the wall, in her usual fashion:

"ZZZOEEEE, NÊN XIANG CHI RÈ GÔU MA?"

Zoe slightly rolled her eyes and replied to her mother, "Ya, ya!"

"Zoe! Why is your mother so angry at you all the time? Did I do something wrong?"

She looked at me like I was an idiot. "Nope. She just wants to know if you want hot dogs for dinner."

33 comments:

  1. haha...that's funny. {I need to insert a joke here.}

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  2. LMAO!!! bless her heart she was trying omg that is too funny

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  3. Funny memory! One of my best friends growing up was from China and it was a similar situation with her parents-- but I never got hot dogs when I ate dinner at her house. I remember eating all sorts of interesting things there, rice wrapped in a leaf, different soups. It was usually pretty good.

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  4. What? No mustard? Chinese...it's all Greek to me.

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  5. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Being Chinese, I appreciate this post a lot. I don't speak Mandarin, but I totally get what she was like, her mother.

    Too funny!

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  6. Very cute.. Whenever I invited anyone home is was with trepidation as well. Our conversations in Spanish can seem like we are arguing and to those outside the family it was a scary thing to listen to.

    A

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  7. Lmao! Isn't this racial food profiling or something?

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  8. @Boobies
    Yeah - totally racial food profiling. HAHA. Good thing I'm OK with that.

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  9. Too funny! Did you tell her then that you could handle other foods? And boiled hot dogs? Blech...I'd rather eat chicken feet.

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  10. Kids are picky. Maybe she didn't want to see you turn your nose at her perfect food?

    Or maybe she just knew that, even at only 8, Lady E liked the weiner...

    Either/or...

    My Own Private Idaho

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  11. @Lost.in.Idaho
    I DO enjoy a good wiener... but preferably not boiled.

    @Twinisms
    I didn't mind them, but I would've like to have tried the "grown-up" food once and a while. LOL

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  12. I love this! I had a Chinese friend in grade school. I used to trade him a bag of carrots for a Twinkie every day. Why did their moms buy all the good stuff??

    So glad I finally stopped by.

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  13. It's a good thing she always had hot dogs on hand.

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  14. @Jessica
    I think they kept some in stock just for me, seriously. LOL

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  15. omg, i love this story. you know i'm all about funny childhood moments at FourthGradeNothing.com that is so cute. i had a friend who was korean and they too had tons of yummy snacks at their house. my mom never had doritos, hostess and soda around unless it was like a holiday party or something!

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  16. That cracked me up! I have to say though, I probably would have been thrilled. I freaking love hot dogs.

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  17. What a shame you never got to try some proper authentic Chinese food.

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  18. @Ally
    I knew you'd like this one :)

    @VeryBored
    It definitely smelled better than the boiled hot dogs!

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  19. Hilarious. Simply hilarious. I'm Chinese-American... and I can totally see this happening in my family. Now, every time we visit them in NY, my parents boil chicken legs and serve it with a side of ketchup for my two year old son... because he won't eat the strange foods on the table. And they usually holler at me, with my bewildered white non-Chinese speaking husband looking on, about whether our son is hungry...

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  20. And now that we know what are in some hot dogs, you may as well have eaten off the top two shelves...LOL

    Have a great Tuesday

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  21. LOL...That's simply fantastic.

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  22. Oh. Em. Gee. That just made my afternoon.

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  23. Oh my GAWD! This is soooo true. You are bringing back fond memories of my grandmother. My mom's family is from Hong Kong, and when they all got together- it sounded like a feud.
    Good times...
    PS- My husband ate a chicken foot to impress my grandmother. It worked.

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  24. My family is very German. Our generation never learned the language and I remember wondering why the adults were always so angry. Great story.

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  25. That is an awesome story!

    My older daughter's best friend a few years ago was from Canada as well, but before that . . . from India. The mother spoke English, but not that well, and she relied on her daughter for translation. My daughter spent many dinners at their house, and every time, the mother would cook a huge traditional Indian meal for the large extended family that lived with them.

    And Maj would be served pizza.

    Every time.

    Hee hee!

    Kris

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  26. @Kris
    That's awesome! I would have much preferred pizza ;)

    @M.Hicks
    Funny - German is another one that I probably would have been scared of. Even Italians yelling at each other would freak me out.

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  27. confession:
    I would eat hot dogs for dinner every night if it wouldn't make me weight one hundred million pounds.

    confession:
    I love boiled eggs.

    confession:
    This lunch is my dream lunch.

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  28. @Leighann
    I love you, but you really need to stay off the crack... fo'realz.
    lol

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  29. Lol!!! That's sweet that she was trying to look out fir you though. I was served a whole fish with the eye staring at me at a friend's house and would have loved the hotdog choice.

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  30. "dried fish heads and chicken feet"

    *voms on the floor*

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