Tonight we were given the great honor of being invited into a home for dinner. Jialin and her husband, Shu, and her mother, Xu invited us to spend the evening in their home. She and Shu picked us up about 6:00 and drove to their apartment.
We were met there by Xu who presented us with special shoes that we could wear while in their home. We were treated like royalty while there. They didn’t even complain when we asked if we could be in the kitchen area to watch the preparation of the food and didn’t even blink when I was madly taking photos!!
Jialin told us that while we were driving her mother had called and wanted to know why she had only prepared 5 dishes and a soup. She said that it was not enough food and that she was preparing another dish (mother’s are the same all over the world). But, believe me, it was MORE than enough food.
While we were waiting, Jialin made some wonderful black tea for us to drink. She had taken a University course in the history and preparation of different teas and was a fount of information.
After dinner she made some green tea and showed us how tell whether or not it is a high quality tea. The leaves were cut long and thin and It was really beautiful how they stood up at the bottom and floated on the top of the glass. She likened it to “dancers in the water”. She showed us examples of various teas that she likes and we laughed at her because one of them was bought at Walmart!!!
The most interesting dish that we had was a salad made from cucumber slivers and Jelly Fish. The dressing had a slight lemon flavor to it and it was a wonderful combination.
My favorite one was pork ribs that had been spiced and cooked. It was served on a bed of steamed asparagus and carrots. I had TWO of those.
There was also a plate of steamed shrimp, another of steamed pumpkin, a dish of chili chicken wings, and finally, an egg and leek mixture (Xu’s last minute addition). The soup was made from scrambled eggs and boiled tomatoes.
We ate until we could eat no more and then out came the fruit. There was watermelon, grapes and a fruit that seemed to be a mixture between a cherry and a plum. It was about the size of a cherry but had a bumpy skin. They were great!!!
We had a wonderful time talking to Jialin and her family, although we felt sorry for Jialin as she had to translate everything that was said……I am not sure how she had time to eat.
As we talked about the food that they had prepared, Jialin told us that they worked hard to prepare dishes that were different shapes, colors, aromas, flavors and textures. Obviously they put a LOT more thought into their preparation than we do.
The conversation ranged from politics, economy and health to travel, food, music and cultures with both sides asking lots of questions. Jialin asked one final question…..”In American culture, who says that it is time to leave a party.”…..she was assuming that the guest was supposed to set the time and we were assuming that the host was going to set the time. Needless to say, we could have been there all night!!!! This would have been great for us, but I am sure that they were ready to clean up and return to “American-less” life.
They gave us two wonderful gifts…..the first was a package of tea that came from a very nice tea area. The second was a gorgeous scarf that Jialin said went well with my skin color. We had previously given Jialin a pottery plate from a Georgia potter, so we gave a small vase to her Mother…..I think that she was pleased.
They told us that we were the first International guests that they have had in their home, and we hope that we lived up to that great honor!!!!