I like tripe

Monday, July 11, 2005

1. found a place that makes excellent baguettes in Toronto. Pain Perdu, up at St. Clair, though Westenders can find the PP baguette at La Fromagerie, on College West of Dovercourt. And, La Fromagerie contains an impressive array of true cheeses, some impressive croutes and blues from Quebec too. Truly a find.

2. you can swim at the Sunnyside pool for free. This is amazing. The Sunnyside pool is right on the lake, literally, and so you while you gaze longingly at the disgustingly polluted lake, you can paddle happily in the mildly chlorinated pool.


This weekend I went up to my parent's place. Not for want of anything but because it seems to be the only place where I feel truly on vacation. It's a large old house, with a gorgeous spacious lawn and well-tended garden. My dad truly has found his calling in his old age. He should have been a gardener. At night, they turn on the fairy lights and the place, complete with its tiny rock fountain, is like an elfin paradise.

Plus I get to watch as many DVDs as I like, snack on everything in the fridge (my god, my mom keeps that thing so well stocked), get drives anywhere I want, sleep at any hour of the day and read all sorts of all books and history nonsense. Plus they have cable so I was able to watch my Tour de France there.

My mother makes the best soup. It's this Cantonese kind of broth, made of dried lotus roots, pork ribs, carrots, dried oysters, dried dates and peanuts. It's quite brothlike and really, the best thing in the world. I feel like I'm twelve, tucked into my Thomas Hardy, while the radio hums something in the background. I grew up this way, far from the madding crowd, and there are days that I rue not to be content completely with this world, that I seek worldly pleasures and strange adventures.

Still, every adventurer needs their pit stop.

On the way to dim sum, where I discovered much to my chagrin that I have little interest in mixing with my sister's friends, though they are very nice, my mother had a long talk about the Lord of the Rings saga. It seems I was bred in a family that is rabid for hobbits, which might explain why my mother likes my dad (hahaha, just kidding!). My mother said that the lighting of the torches sends shivers through her... a light in the darkness... hope eternal... all that kind of stuff.

Of course I disagreed with her. I'm not a fan of the trilogy. I cringe and shiver when I hear people weep and shudder before plaster cast replicas of Minas Tirith. I am the dark side and I resent our stereotyping as an evil bunch. I hover in the shadows, I love and nurse my vices...

Even as she said this we were driving on a large 3 lane highway, ripping through the flat countryside that is broken up intermittently by blockish concrete buildings that bear signs for some industrial park or another. I wonder, if in all her contentment for super-size over-air-conditioned supermarkets, a house that always smells lovely with strategically placed air fresheners, high-end cosmetic products and new and clean furniture, I wonder in all that if that is what the light at the end of the tunnel is about. That in a well kept house you can hear the sounds of epic Norse battles resung by Enya?

I like that. I want to hold onto that. There is something really heroically consistent about playing Enya in the middle of bourgeois hell... like Socrates with his hemlock.

And then I know I am wrong. I'm being condescending. My mother is happy on her own terms. She's not burdened by existentialism, or friendship or love. She doesn't need friends. She's so happy with her family, with her latin classes, with earning money as a painter of Catholic tapestries (yes! that's her job now!), her big spacious new car, her excellent body that she takes care by working out at the gym, her health, and herself... She's a born organizer and go-getter. She's a workhorse and she's happiest best working. She makes me jealous.

I am dark and malcontent due to some overblown ego that somehow I can change the world. Perhaps, had I been more wise, I would have just gone to the peacecorp, international relations, business... instead of art. Art doesn't change the world. It's just the best point of view to be in when you're too weak to do anything else.

yeah... I'm lying. I didn't choose to be an artist... It's the only real thing I could say to define the things I dream of doing.


On a final note, I noticed how people shiver when you say you like eating tripe, pig's feet and jellyfish... all in the same meal. These people have obviously never had dim sum. Here's what we ate, with multiple orders of the same dish, shared between 8 adults:

shrimp dumplings (ha-kow)
shrimp dumplings with waterchestnut and chives
meat dumplings in eggskin wrapper with water chestnut
steamed rice rolls with shrimp and chives (cheong fan)
steamed rice rolls with scallops and green onions
steamed buns with roasted pork (pow)
fried bean curd skin stuffed with fish paste
stuffed deep-fried tofu
steamed tripe
steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce
steamed chicken feet (phoenix feet!)
steamed stuffed shittake mushrooms
meat dumplings with quail's eggs (sui mai + something else)
fish paste stuffed green peppers, fried with black bean sauce
tau-fu-fa (sweet tofu custard)

I carried my stomach home and fell asleep in front of the tv 30 minutes later, where I dreamed of boiled red chicken feet picking jellyfish tripe out of egg-wrapped stomach... yes, demented Prometheus haunts me even after culinary bliss... Dacnar, this is the punishment that awaits you. Be prepared.