Jun 12, 2010

Noshin' on raw vegetables

Raw cucumbers and fried bread

While waiting for the Beijing city bus one morning this week, I observed a high school girl standing near me. In her right hand, she held a long, thin, prickly cucumber. In her left hand, there was a folded wad of greasy, fried bread.

As she stood there, waiting for her bus, she would take a bite of cucumber, chew, and swallow. A couple minutes later, a big mouthful of fried bread. I'm thinking to myself, "Vegetable group, bread group. Vegetable group, bread group. Vegetable group, bread group."

For me, I'm usually double-fisting donuts, so it's more like, "Jelly donut group, glazed donut group. Jelly donut group, glazed donut group. Jelly donut group, glazed donut group." And then a swig of juice or coffee every now and then to wash it down.

I think that the bites of cucumber must be a great way to offset the grease from the bread. I should try it sometime with my donuts.

Raw tomatoes

Another amusing sighting of a vegetable nosher I had was on an international flight back to Beijing last month. I was sitting next to an 80 year old Chinese woman. I don't think she spoke a word of English.

The woman had moderate osteoporosis, and was overweight by twenty pounds or so. She was so curled up and rounded that she reminded me of a grey-haired Sonic the Hedgehog, you know, when Sonic curls into a ball to attack his video game enemies?

At one point during the flight, I saw my elderly seatmate pull out a giant zip-lock bag of goodies. Fruits, crackers, and other snacks. I thought to myself, I should have thought ahead and done that to, because these Air China in flight meals are unbearable.

In my peripheral vision, I saw that the woman was munching on bright red Jonathan apple. Something was out of place, though. I didn't hear any crunching and munching sounds, like you usually hear when someone's eating an apple. I wondered, what, did she take her dentures out and try to gum the apple to death?

I spun my head ninety degrees to observe my seatmate's habits in more detail. It turns out it was not a Jonathan apple that she was sucking on, but a medium sized, raw tomato. She was totally gumming it, and hard. She was sucking and gumming that tomato like there was no tomorrow. I don't think any teeth came in contact with the tomato. It was amazing.

These New Age California people think they're so hip with their vegan lifestyles and raw foods movements. I'm telling you, Chinese folks have been doing these things well before Californians, and they don't do it to be cool, either. Californians and other New Age type people in America are very direct about telling you all about their dietary habits. "I'm a vegetarian.", "I'm a fishitarian — I don't eat any meat except seafood", "I eat only raw, unprocessed foods", "I only buy organics".

I've got a lot more respect for the Chinese as far as this goes. They eat what they want because they like it, and they don't need to tell everybody around about their habits.


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