Friday, April 29, 2005

Is that jam or jelly?

Some mornings are tougher than others.

When it's a tough one, I can send C to school with a little something to eat for breakfast, preferably something warm.

This morning was a tough one, so I grabbed a frozen dim sum pork bun (char siu bao) from the freezer, zapped it for a minute, and wrapped it up in a piece of foil. Into the backpack it went with a juice box.

Sitting down at the lunch table at her school, C unwrapped it and began to unflinchingly feast, familiar with all sorts of dim sum since early childhood -- we did live in the San Gabriel Valley (LA Chinatown East).

As the kids started to gather around, C showed no signs of distress or otherwise. She was just eating her breakfast.

After 30 secords of trying to figure out what kind of strange donut the California girl was eating, one brave, hybrid corn-fed kid finally spoke up.

"Is that jam or jelly in that donut?"

C won't speak with her mouth full, so she put up a finger, indicating her classmate should wait for a response.

Swallowing she squeaked out, "it's dim sum." She continued, "dim sum -- me and my daddy used to drive our Corvette to get it."

Still nothing.

Stringy-haired brown-eyed girl next to hybrid-corn-fed boy speaks.

"It looks like strawberry. That's my favorite."

C swallows her current bite and says, "it's a pork bun. The pink stuff is pork."

Now, if you've never seen, eaten, or dated a Chinese person who made char siu bao, then you don't know that the filling is indeed, bar-b-qued pork. A "special" sauce gives the outside of the pork a pink appearance once the bar-b-que process is complete -- which gets even more pink when embedded inside a starched white bun. I can them frozen by the dozen from a local (55 miles) Chinese market.

That opened the 5-year olds floodgates of discussion.

"Is it like bacon?"
"I like it when my Dad bar-b-ques."
"What's the white stuff?"
"Where did you get it?"
And the inevitible, "Can I have one?"

C finished her bun, toss the foil, and took a sip of her juice box. I not sure, but I thought I caught a glimpse of her digging the attention from her classmates. Even 5-year olds like to eat weird stuff in front of others.

Or maybe it was just the feeling of satisfied warmth filling her insides with a little taste of her early childhood.

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