“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
― Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
From my blog (I called it an “Online Journal” then), The Daily Epiphany, Sunday, March 5, 2000
Chan can cook
We have a friend staying with us for a few days and tonight we took the whole kit-n-caboodle out to eat, deciding on Chan’s – a popular Chinese joint here in Mesquite.
The menu is fairly ordinary, as these things go, but the quality is high, the servings are generous, and the food comes in cute personal metal woks instead of the usual foam trays. Best of all, the cooking is done behind a glass wall and you can watch. A line of up to six cooks and a handful of assistants line up in front of vertical jets of flame. Oil filled woks are at the ends, one deep frying coated stuff and the other cooking neat. In the center, giant woks are used to stir-fry everything to order, the assistants slicing and filling up bowls with meat, vegetables, or noodles, the cooks throwing it in, flinging the necessary sauces from a cluster of deep bowls, and washing up after each order; all with rapid efficient motions.
In the center was the head cook, twenty years older and a foot shorter than anyone else. He wore a baseball cap on backwards. His arms were thick and corded with muscle from slinging pans for decades. He used a long handled wok and a ladle, swinging and slinging and cooking as if it was a dance, flipping food, dodging high yellow flames or dipping in exactly the right amount of corn starch and soy sauce. Or shouting orders and directing the others, gesturing with his ladle like an orchestra conductor. His black encrusted pan looked like it had stir-fried a million orders.
The cooking is quick and the organization efficient but it is so popular that at the peak a double line stretched from the registers all through the place and out the door.
Nick and Lee were able to grab a prime perch against the glass where they could watch the wokking. I asked them what they thought of it and couldn’t hide my grin when Lee observed, “It’s just like Iron Chef!”
And a piece of flash fiction for today:
Fried Rice by Shih-Li Kow
from Flash Fiction Online