Jase Graves: Almost Made It (Asian Food Edition)

Growing up in 1970s East Texas, my experiences with international cuisine were pretty much limited to pizza, spaghetti, and the occasional tamale.

Now that I have my own children, I have tried to broaden their experiences by taking them to Mexican, Italian, Asian, Mexican and Mexican restaurants.

We even cook ethnic dishes (mostly Mexican) on a fairly regular basis, but my youngest daughter has recently taken our dining experiences to a new level.

When she’s not rolling out a YouTube video to procrastinate from doing her homework, doing chores, eating, bathing, sleeping, or otherwise engaging in reality, she pesters my wife and me for share his mania for Asian food culture.

Unfortunately, she is no longer satisfied with seeing me eat my weight of hot and spicy chicken at the local Chinese buffet.

No, she actually wants us to cook it!

Now I’m mildly proficient with Southern staples, like mashed potatoes, cookies and gravy, banana pudding, and other mostly white or yellow foods that get warnings from American Heart Association. And I can make a medium ground beef taco, as long as the seasoning mix is ​​pre-measured in an easy to open packet.

But so far my attempts at cooking Asian food have been embarrassing failures – despite following recipes from websites like “Cooking That Won’t Add To Your Other Disappointing Goodness.com”.

For example, my chicken fried rice had all the zest and pop of wet lawn clippings.

My Asian pork chops looked and tasted like surgical malpractice.

The one saving grace of these meals was the frozen baked spring rolls that only take about three hours to cool to the temperature of fresh magma.

Despite these debacles, I learned a few tips about Asian cooking for novices.

First, be prepared to purchase at least 17 ingredients per recipe from your local Asian market. Most of these items only come loose, and you may have trouble pronouncing some of them because they don’t seem to contain vowels.

Then be prepared to mess up all the utensils and kitchen utensils you own, including wedding gifts you thought would never see the light of day until you bequeath them to a distant relative you don’t really love. .

My daughter decided to take charge of our latest foray into Asian cuisine and told me she wanted to make kimbap or seaweed rolls. Yes, seaweed!

When I think of seaweed, my mind conjures up images of the semi-decomposed plant matter lurking in the shallow water and occasionally brushing my leg, making me squeal like a little girl—only less masculine.

But this seaweed is a whole other animal – or plant – or something like that, and it comes in the form of thin, dried leaves (with or without a 3-hole punch). The seaweed is used as the wrapper in which you wrap various fillings like sticky rice, carrots, and pickled radishes (which is the same neon yellow as some parachute pants I’m pretty sure I wore in the 1980s). The recipe we used even called for beef franks!

At least I can relate to hot dogs and rice sticking together!

Once my daughter made the rolls and cut them into miniature hockey pucks, they weren’t that bad. (I only ate about two dozen.)

Although I will probably never master Asian cuisine, my wife and I enjoyed spending time with our youngest daughter on this culinary adventure. In fact, the next recipe she wants us to try is clam soybean paste soup.

I think I’ll buy a few tamales as a backup.

Graves is an award-winning comedy columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected]

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