Normally, my New Year’s Day is spent making chili and entertaining friends and family in my home. This year was a bit different since 1) Our apartment is still a bit of a wreck from the move and 2) We couldn’t get down to Louisville on Christmas because the roads were bad.
So, my husband and I spent New Years Day driving down to Louisville and meeting his family at P.F. Chang’s for lunch. I decided I needed a noodle dish if I wasn’t having the usual chili. Noodles represent longevity in many Asian cultures and eating them without biting into them or cutting them is a good sign. So, imagine my surprise when our waiter cut into my in-laws’ noodle dishes saying it was good luck. I was about to say something to him when he said it was in their training. Whoever did the training manual needs to recheck their facts. In Chinese traditions, if noodles are cut it is believed to be bad luck and that it would shorten the person’s life.
I wanted to say something. I nearly said something. I probably should have said something. But they weren’t my noodles. Had he attempted to cut my noodles, there would have been a ruckus started with me screaming, “What the hell are you doing?” Actually, I would have yelled, “STOP! Put. The. Knife. DOWN!”
Alas, they were not my noodles and I felt it wasn’t my place to intervene.
We spent a couple of hours at my mother-in-law’s after lunch, opening presents and spending time with the family.
My husband took me to the Christmas light display at Sharon Woods upon our return to Cincinnati. It was nice and dark by the time we got back. I was also nice and hungry.
We stuck with the Asian food theme and went for Korean food for dinner. I don’t normally take pictures of tea cups, but I was struck by the simplicity of this particular tea cup and that it looked hand painted. Yes, call me crazy (I am, you know), but I seem to notice little things like that since my husband got into learning and practicing chado, Japanese tea ceremony. In the ceremony, those being served tea take time to look at the artwork on the tea bowl, because it really is artwork. The traditional tea bowls aren’t mass produced or painted by machines. It’s the little things. Taking time to slow down and really appreciate what is right in front of you.
We both ordered the dolsot bibimbop. Distinguished from ordinary bibimbop by being served in a hot stone bowl. It comes out sizzling much like fajitas on a cast iron skillet in a Mexican restaurant. This gives the rice a really crunchy crust. A crust that reminds me of my father’s “popcorn rice.” He would fry rice in a skillet until it had that crispy crust and it was coined popcorn rice in the family.
Bibimbop, either regular or served in a stone bowl) comes with a hot sauce that you mix in with it when you mix all the ingredients together. I don’t care for the sauce, but my husband loves it. This started a conversation between us on how we like the same foods, but we have differing tastes. I prefer my foods mild, light, and minimalistic for the most part. My husband likes his food salty and hot. Things that are too salty for me are just right for him. Things that aren’t “that hot” to him set my mouth on fire.
I brought up the fact that he’s a smoker and that it could have something to do with things not being salty or hot enough for him. I won’t even share how that went other than he took it a little better than I thought he would.
This is the way it’s always been between us, but we’ve never really discussed it before. Yes, we do like the same foods. Well, mostly. I can’t stand liver, but he loves it. He can’t stand cranberries, coffee, or nuts in his food. I adore cranberries, love my morning decaf, and enjoy the extra flavor of nuts in my food.
Will our New Years next year be different again? I have no idea. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.