My dad told me once how he went to dinner at a family’s home in Vancouver who were recent immigrants from Africa or Albania (I forget). For dessert, they served up dishes of frozen juice mix – the kind that comes frozen in the cardboard can that you’re supposed to mix with water – like it was ice cream. I can’t remember if my dad said anything or not. He may have just eaten it like everything was normal.
Just this week a fellow language student couple told me how they did the same thing when they had some of the teachers over for dinner recently. For dessert, they served a plate of uncooked 汤圆 (“soup spheres,” also called 元宵), not knowing that you’re supposed to boil them. They’re little sweet dumplings made out of glutinous rice flour, which, when they’re cooked, are gooey white doughy balls with sweet stuff inside, usually red bean paste. Uncooked usually means frozen. One of the teachers got a big surprise when she bit down, but then she told them and they cooked them and a good time was had by all.
We were planning to eat some tonight, which is what made me think to write about it, and I was going to show you a picture of what they look like cooked, except I cooked them wrong, the insides all fell out, and we ended up with a rice-flavoured blob of slime.
Just a simple anecdote of how easy it is to ‘not get it’ when you live elsewhere. Makes me have a lot more sympathy for the real immigrants back in Vancouver!