We just got back from a wedding in New Orleans. My Grouchy Husband has a lot of family in New Orleans and Cousin Linda’s son, Daniel, got married. Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue are Linda’s parents. They love to cook and eat, and have always treated me like family even before I was dating my Grouchy Husband. When my Grouchy Husband and I lived in New Orleans during college, we would regularly visit them and they would always ask, “Are you hungry?”. It didn’t matter what state our hunger was in, out of respect, we always said yes. Everything they cook is so delicious and in their amazing kitchen or outdoor grill they would feed us. And on the very rare occasion they didn’t have food in the house, they would take us out to eat. While in New Orleans for the wedding, we ate multiple times in their home. I ate raw oysters, fried oysters, soft shell crab, fish, gumbo, roast beef, all of my favorites. The smoked drum fish was unbelievable.
Asking “Are you hungry?”, is a way for Chinese people, especially elders, to show their care and consideration. Acknowledging their offer, eating their food and joining them for a meal is a show of respect, and a way to reciprocate your care and consideration. Many of these elders came from small villages in China where food was not abundant. Providing food to eat would make someone happy by taking care of their health and overall well-being.
I’ve been asked this question not necessarily during a meal time, sometimes not a single pot was on the stove, sometimes not even near a kitchen. It doesn’t matter if I just finished a 10-course Chinese banquet meal, the respectful response is always “yes”. The Chinese culture is not known for its verbal expression so I’m happy to show that I care by eating. Easy enough even though it might not always be easy to work off my hips (but that’s a story for another day).
Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue have always been so good to me. They have always asked if I was hungry, fed me while I was in college and are still feeding me today. I look forward to spending time with them and eating their food. I love that I have found a way to show how much I care for them.
The Dumpling Mama xo