Thursday, May 17, 2007

Eggs & Lunch

I'm still doing catch-up posts on things I made over the last month or so. In reality, I will be having dinner with CH'ers tonight. But in the meantime, let's talk about egg dishes. I do western style eggs fairly well... omelettes, poached, sunny side up, etc. Chinese eggs... that's another story. A few weeks ago, I made a srambled egg with Chinese sausage. That was pretty easy and tasted great with rice porridge ( I went through a week during my time off between jobs eating nothing but rice porridge - don't ask me why).

But when I tried my hand at the dish eggs with small fish, well, it was less than optimal. My problem with Chinese style eggs is in the "done-ness". It's supposed the be a bit browned, unlike western eggs. That is a style choice that allows the aromatic aspect to come through. It's not too hard when I'm scrambling. But in the case of the eggs with small fish, I could time the cooking right. The outside is supposed to be ever so slightly browned yet the inside is supposed to remain more steamed-like in texture. Well, as you can see below, I over did it.

As a side note, eggs with small fish over rice is very much a classic "bien dang" dish. Bien dang or bento box or lunch box is something kids would get bring with them to school in TW. The box is usually metal. They all get collected in the morning and go into a big steam room. Then the boxes are re-distributed to students at lunch for a hot meal. Children would pity the one or two students in their class that do not have a lunchbox sent with them from home. Those without homemade lunches were considered to be from dysfunctional and broken families without love and would end up eating a cup of noodle or some such. What a cultural difference that is to the American lunch system, huh? Having parents and family who pay attention to a student's studies is a way of life there (a child's studies is usually considered the number one priority in a family) and how much your family cares about your studies is judged by the contents of your lunchbox. Shame and ostricization befall the unlucky child without a homemade box. In fact, the teachers, the neighbors, and the parents association would go visit the home of lunchbox-less children and ridicule the parents. What would it be like for our inner city and economically challenged youths if we had the same kind of social pressures for families to care about their child's lunchbox? Hmmmm....

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