Winner, Winner, Olive Dinner (#185)

My Chinese-American husband and I live in Los Angeles. Since my husband is an excellent cook, we don’t go out that often. But when we do go out? There’s always a new Japanese, Indian, or farm-to-table restaurant to try. Andy’s up for anything, which is nice. Most of my white girlfriends won’t even consider sushi. And my friend JM will only go to one restaurant — the Corner Bakery.

When my in-laws visited, my husband and I cooked for them for weeks. Near the end of their visit, Sunny announced that they would take us out to dinner.

I cheered. “Yay! What kind of food would you guys like? A new bistro opened in the Village, or you could try our favorite sushiya in San Pedro.”

Sunny said, “Is there an Olive Garden nearby?”

I sighed. “Of course.” Continue reading Winner, Winner, Olive Dinner (#185)

The Beat Down at an English Pub (#134)

Did I smell a rat at the pub?
Did I smell a rat at the British pub?

My Chinese-American husband and I have been lucky. Unlike so many other AMWF couples, Andy and I have never been harassed by racists. Maybe it’s because we live in Los Angeles, multi-racial city. Or maybe it’s because Angelenos are too self-absorbed to notice other people’s skin color.

Probably it’s because skin color doesn’t register when you’re always looking at your phone. Continue reading The Beat Down at an English Pub (#134)

When Lions Eat Lettuce (#114)

Gung hey fat choi! It's the Year of the Monkey! (Better give the lion some lai see if you don't want to get eaten, Monkey.)
Gung hey fat choi! It’s the Year of the Monkey. (Better give the lion some lai see if you don’t want to get eaten, Monkey.)

Early one February, Andy asked if I want to go to dim sum with his aunt, uncle, and cousins on the weekend.

I said, “So long as you don’t make fun of me for not eating the chicken feet.”

“But they’re so good! And you won’t even try them!”

I shuddered. “It’s the toenails. If you have to spit out toenails, you cannot pretend you’re not eating another creature’s feet.” Continue reading When Lions Eat Lettuce (#114)

Son-in-Law vs. Daughter-in-Law (#110)

IMG_5730When I butted heads with my in-laws, I had a secret weapon. Well, more like a secret label, really. I was able to avoid taking their criticism personally by calling it “a cultural difference.”

Doubling the number of bridesmaids to 8 due to Chinese superstitions about the Voldemort of numbers? It’s a pain in the ass, but fine, I’ll respect your superstition.

Ignoring the fact that I hate seafood and making sure every dish at the Chinese Wedding Banquet was marine? Well, each dish had some cultural significance and my in-laws paid for it. I fed my portions to my new husband and said nothing. Continue reading Son-in-Law vs. Daughter-in-Law (#110)

Curfew (#102)

How late was your curfew?
How late was your curfew?

When Andy stayed with my family the Christmas before we got married, he was shocked by how late my Baby Sister came home. She was my last sibling in high school. Her boyfriend dropped her off about 1:31 AM. We, of course, were still awake, thanks to the three-hour time difference between LA and New Hampshire. Andy strained chicken stock while I frosted cream cheese sugar cookies. Baby Sister told us good-night and helped herself to a cookie on the way upstairs.

After she went up to bed, Andy said, “Isn’t it kind of late?” Continue reading Curfew (#102)

The Menu and the Message (#101)


IMG_5038My new in-laws, Sunny and Jay, insisted on a Chinese Wedding Banquet a month after our traditionally western wedding. They took us to beta test the restaurant two days before the banquet. It went…poorly.

Sunny and Jay found a new banquet location the very next day. As neither in-law sought my opinion on anything ever, I was shocked when Jay sat down next to me with a menu.

“What courses you like?” Jay asked.

I shot my new husband a suspicious look: Is this a trap? Continue reading The Menu and the Message (#101)

Lights Out (#99)

IMG_5041My father had a terrible temper. When he unloaded a barrage of profanity at the washing machine, my siblings and I fled. God forbid his gaze landed on you when he was pissed – you could easily be the next target. On the other hand, you couldn’t go completely out of earshot. If you did, and the man needed a hammer or wrench or rag, and you weren’t there to supply it, you’d definitely get hit with the next blast of fury. Continue reading Lights Out (#99)

Clash of the Utensils (#78)

You wouldn't eat a grapefruit with chopsticks...
You wouldn’t eat a grapefruit with chopsticks, would you?

Chopsticks never made any sense to me. Eating rice with them is a special kind of torture. I’d corner a pile of rice on my plate, smoosh it together with chopsticks, and lose half the pile on the way to my mouth. The futility of eating rice with chopsticks was inversely proportional to the size of the rice pile; the smaller the pile, the harder it was to get a few grains to your mouth. There were times when I’d manage to get two grains of rice in my mouth. This is fantastic for dieting, but lousy for sustenance. Continue reading Clash of the Utensils (#78)

All You Can Eat Honeymoon (#76)


I wanted to go to England for our honeymoon. Andy wanted to go lie on a beach.  Since Andy yielded to me on pretty much all the “Autumn in New England” wedding details, I gave in on the honeymoon. Continue reading All You Can Eat Honeymoon (#76)

The Bridesmaids’ Luncheon: A Play in One Part (#67)



Interior of the finest, fanciest restaurant in Nowhere, New Hampshire. In this restaurant, the mason jars used as water glasses have handles.

 Nine women sit at a long table.  They hand their menus to a waiter. Eight of them will have to wait to be introduced until they actually say something because otherwise the stage directions will take up an entire page. Continue reading The Bridesmaids’ Luncheon: A Play in One Part (#67)