Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chinese France

Yes, it's true. The ubiquitous strip mall Chinese buffet has made its way to the land of Brie and fois gras. As my son says, it is somehow reassuring to know that it is the same all over the world. There were nonetheless remarkable differences. Frog legs, lightly battered and fried, took the place of chicken wings. There were four different salads including a type of slaw made with long tender strands of cabbage. Most of the sauces were spicy rather than sweet, the Calamari were hotest but the lemongrass beef was divine. The fried dumplings were a disappointment (I love dumplings). There were ten different fruits on the dessert table and a freezer with a dozen different flavors of quality ice cream. Sorry, no Jello. Other notable absences included General Tso's chicken, sweet and sour anything, and fortune cookies. We had thirty-nine people at the table, some of whom hadn't been together for years. In the French tradition, we spent about three hours at the table eating and talking. French meals fill the soul as much as they fill the belly. As my nephew put it, none of the food was especially appetizing, but it fills you up. I'm glad to see that some rings never change.
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