Wednesday, October 23, 2019

One Hot Pot

This was a birthday to be remembered. It had been two years since I had seen my dad, half brother, and stepmom. They came to visit from Los Angeles the week of my birthday. It was also days before Christmas. I knew this birthday was going to be special because I couldn’t remember the last time we were all together for my birthday or Christmas. I’m thankful for the special birthday dinner I had with my family. On the day of my birthday, I had to go to work. After work, I hurried home to get ready for dinner. We all met at my sister’s house at 6:30 P. M.  When I walked inside, nobody was ready. Everyone including my nieces, nephew, sister, and brothers were busy watching television or playing on their I phones. I looked around and saw my dad and stepmom in the kitchen preparing food. I asked them, â€Å"what are you guys doing? † and my dad said, â€Å"I’ve decided to have dinner at home instead of going out to eat. † I thought that was a great idea because I would rather spend quality time with them at home instead of at the restaurant. Then I started to look around to see what he was making. I saw a big pot of boiling stock. At that point, I knew we were having a hot pot. Hot pot consisted of simmering a metal pot of stock placed at the center of the dining table which was fueled by a portable butane gas stove. While the hot pot was simmering, ingredients were placed into the pot and were cooked at the table. Ahhh†¦. I was so excited about the evening because hot pot was one of my favorites. The weather was cold and raining outside while the hot pot was simmering which made the house felt warm and cozy. There was no better meal for this particular day than a hot pot. My dad took all day to prepare the food. He cut and cleans various uncooked items including meat (lamb, beef, chicken, and duck), vegetables (bok choi, bean sprout, daikon, tofu, tomatoes, taro, lettuce, and mushroom), seafood (fish, squid, lobster, prawn, crab, clam, and oyster. ) He had to pull apart the crabs, scrub the clams, and shuck the oysters from the shell; preparing the food was the most difficult part of the meal. Finally it was time for dinner. Everyone started to load the food individually into the hot cooking broth with their chopsticks. When the food was cooked in the pot, it was usually eaten with a dipping sauce. My favorite was the clams, so I grabbed a lot of clams and loaded it into the pot with the strainer and gently placed it over the boiling water and watched the clams open. Once they opened, I placed them in my bowl and started to dig in. Hot pot wasn’t like any regular meal because it could last for hours. Everyone would eat or wait for the food to cook while talking with each other. Even after I was full and I would sit there and listen to everyone talk and then I got hungry again. We would usually eat late into the night when we had hot pot for dinner. I couldn’t imagine a better time than Christmas time to be with my family sitting around at the dinner table admiring each other. Besides my dad and step mom, my oldest sister, three older brothers, a half brother and my sister’s five children were there. Even my mom and step dad came over to celebrate and some of my cousins too. Because of my parent’s divorce, it took a lot for all of us to be sitting around the same table. This meal was unforgettable.

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