Monday, December 6, 2010

Ancient Chinese Wive's Proverbs


My mom came to my house with some broth. She warned, "Don't eat this if you are having your period."

The fact that the broth was black and gritty and had large chunks of either root or meat (I only guessed meat after I saw what looked like bones, but that could have been a different kind of root) was probably enough to keep me from eating it, but that warning made me wonder if it was even safe to have in my house.

So, while I sat down eating my ovary-healing broth, I thought of all the other tokens of love and jewels of wisdom I have been given throughout the years from well-meaning Asian women:

--Sesame oil chicken will help your body heal after giving birth.

--Boiled peanuts will help your milk come in faster (which would explain the rapid rate of growth in my really fat babies).

--If a child pushes a loose tooth with his tongue, his teeth will grow in crooked.

--Don't eat cold foods when you are pregnant or you will do harm to the fetus. (I think the 40 gallons of ice-cream I ate while pregnant is enough to disprove that one.)

--A child must wiggle his tooth a lot or else a tooth will grow out of the top of his head (this one was said in all seriousness)

--A mole under the eye means that person will cry a lot (this one is true only if being whiny is the same as crying a lot).

--If a child crawls or walks under your legs, it will keep him from growing.

--A large forehead and large back to one's head is auspicious. If you have a child with these features, you should take him to go buy lottery tickets because he is lucky (Looks like one of my boys and I should go hit the tracks! I should bring my husband for extra luck!)

--Eating too many lychees (Asian Fruit) will give you bloody noses (Tell that to the pound of lychees I ate every other day on my mission in Asia).

--Eating too many lychees will make you fat (Tell that to the 25 pounds I gained on my mission in Asia).

--Ginger and garlic is good for your ovaries (which explained the ginger-garlic-onions-and-carrots-on-rice meal she prepared for us, but I felt kind of bad for her son who had to eat it too).

--A woman after giving birth should not leave the house or go outside for a month. And, they should not bathe during that month. And, they should stay with their mother-in-law.

After I drank the last dregs of my broth, I realized something. Each of these women that told me these things had only the best of intentions for me and my children. Each one of these women loved me. It is not in the Asian culture to express love with words, but i cant help but feel the love when someone cooks something specifically for me (and my reproductive organs) in mind. So, I eat the black broth, and the ovary healing roots on rice, and the postnatal sesame oil chicken, and the lactation inducing boiled peanut soup, and the menstrual cycle chicken and herbs because that is my way of showing these women that I love them and appreciate them.

And I'll eat the lychees, because they are good.

8 comments:

Brooke said...

Are lychees those yummy gummy-like treats that are clear/white?

Pam C. said...

And will you pass all that advice along to your daughters/daughters-in-law?

Token Asian Friend said...

Yes, lychees are opaquely white and have the texture of a crunchy grape with a big black seed in the middle and covered with a thin woody shell. And they are SOOOOOO good!

The good news about most of these is that they came from either my mom's friend or people I met on my mission. The food ones are mostly my mom, so I probably will try to learn those recipes, just to show them that I love them ;)

Ben and Kari said...

Are your ovaries ok?

Token Asian Friend said...

No worries, Kari. My egg producing machines are just fine. There are certain combinations of roots and herbs that are supposed to help keep you regular and healthy, kind of like a vitamin for women, only mine comes in the form of a home cooked meal. ;)

Miranda said...

Koreans traditionally ate this seaweed soup because it was supposed to help recover and bring in milk.

Later studies have shown this to be true because of the high amount of iron and calcium in seaweed. I don't discount everything!

Brooke said...

Hmmm... so I think I had lychee mixed up with mochi. But after your description, now I really want to try lychee!

chubs said...

You truly are lucky to have traditional food advice, and food, given to you by loved ones. Bone broths are one of the most healthy foods on the planet. Congratulations on your fat, healthy babies!