Here is a 30 second trailer for my documentary. It’s about the history and social impact of Chinese-Canadian restaurants through my memories of my family’s restaurant in Montreal, Canada in the 1950s.
Saturday night, my family had an emergency meeting of sorts. Our favorite Chinese restaurant, Papa Jackie, is closing for renovations for two months as of May 8th. My brother sent out a text alert Thursday announcing that he had made supper reservations for Saturday night at six o’clock. We responded quickly like any dutiful family member would when there’s a promise of a good meal. So there we were, eleven of us, squeezed around a table for ten. Every table in the restaurant was reserved and most likely, so was the next seating at eight. Continue reading
Pursuing a writing career while having a full-time job means I’m often working at home in the evenings and weekends. A lot of things have to take a back seat while I try to take the time to write and be creative. (I have to say I’m in awe of men and women who have a full-time job and children and still find the time to pursue their passion.) So when I have a burst of creativity or if I’m trying to make a deadline, cooking is one of the things that often falls by the wayside. Continue reading
Would you write a valentine to a potato? Wax poetic over beans? Write free verse about free range chickens?
Thirty-four writers from seven countries did just that, and you can read their work in the anthology Dear Tomato: an International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems edited by my friend and fellow writer, Carol-Ann Hoyte. Continue reading
Okay, so this is my third blog featuring fortune cookies. I didn’t plan it, but it seems to be my theme for Chinese New Year this year. When I saw these chocolate covered cookies at the Je T’aime en Chocolat (I Love You In Chocolate) festival yesterday, I just had to buy them. It was the last day for the fourth annual chocolate festival at the Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal. These cookies are dipped in chocolate by Chocolats Favoris and includes their own fortune about love and chocolate. This one says “Love and Chocolate: this is how to stay youthful”. Everything in their showcase looked so good, but I had to fight temptation to buy more so that I could try out the goodies from the other vendors. Did I mention that there were free samples?
I can’t believe we’re in the last two weeks of summer! I didn’t finish my summer-to-do list like spending an afternoon plunging down a water slide, using an extreme heat wave as an excuse to have a Dairy Queen Blizzard for supper, and convincing myself (and others) that lying on a beach working on my tan is how a writer comes up with great, creative ideas.
One thing I do to help prolong that summer feeling is to make an old-fashioned ice cream soda, the way we made it when my parents owned a restaurant. A soft drink cost fifteen cents in the 1960s and we didn’t serve it from a can or a bottle. The restaurant had a real soda fountain complete with the taps with big handles that you pulled down for soda water, pumps for syrup and a fridge for ice cream. When a customer ordered a soft drink, we filled a glass with soda water and pumped in flavoured syrup to make either coke, 7-up, cream soda or cherry-coke.
To make an old-fashioned ice cream soda, take a tall glass, put in a couple of scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream and fill it with 7-up. If you want a coke float, switch the 7-up for coke.
It’s so delicious, it’ll disappear as quick as summer.
What are you doing to enjoy these last days of summer?
Now that spring has arrived, restaurants and bars are expanding their dining rooms. As a result, terrasses are blooming on Montreal’s sidewalks and streets. Al fresco, anyone?
For the past few weeks, the St. Hubert restaurant chain has been running a commercial where the owner of a Chinese restaurant discovers St. Hubert has a $7.95 meal deal. Both of the actors are Chinese and speak in Cantonese with either English or French subtitles. The complaint is that the commercial is demeaning and offensive. It has drawn criticism and comments on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and sparked a national dialogue on the stereotyping of Chinese-Canadians.
Do I think the St. Hubert commercial is stereotyping Chinese people? Yes, but not in a negative way. Is it demeaning? I don’t think so.
Television has not done a good job of depicting Chinese people. I watched the TV series Bonanza when I was growing up and found the character of the Chinese cook, Hopsing, kind of…confusing. My father and none of the Chinese men I knew had a long braid or behaved in a subservient way. Then there was the practice of casting Caucasian actors in Chinese roles, such as Charlie Chan who was played by three Caucasian actors and the TV series Kung Fu where David Carradine was chosen over Bruce Lee to play the lead role. There are a handful of Asians on prime time shows now, but basically unless there is a scene that takes place in Chinatown, it’s rare to see a Chinese person on TV.
The end of winter is a wet, sticky mess and I’m not talking about melting snow. It’s maple syrup season which means a visit to a Cabane à sucre for a feast. This past weekend, my nephew made reservations for family and friends at Érablière Raymond Meunier et Fils which is located in Richelieu, Quebec. Forget about counting calories and fat content because the numbers will be so high you’ll lose track. This is a meal where you add food to maple syrup.
The first thing we did when we got there was to make a beeline to the souvenir shack where they were handing out free donuts fresh out of the deep fryer. Delicious!