I've been in the Chinese church for a long time. It's not easy at times. I often wrestle with feelings of contempt towards Chinese culture. Like many immigrant churches, we have lunch together after worship service on Sundays. It is a loud, disorganized, chaotic affair. Both children and elderly push and shove their way to the front of the line for pizza. It could be the scene in some developing country.
As an Americanized Asian, I survey the traditional Chinese dining experience with disdain and revulsion. Why do Chinese people have to eat and talk so loud? How come dining ambiance doesn't matter more?
Today was a little bit of a breakthrough. The sisters group of our church, composed mostly of first-generation stay-home moms, invited me to join them for their hot pot lunch. I used to hate hot pot. But recently, its been making a personal comeback. I always thought it was revolting to deal with raw food. And even more disgusting to have to fish around for it with everyone else's food at the same time. And the dipping sauces were kinda gross to me.
Truly, there is nothing more awesome than hot pot. It is a steaming festival of delight. Beef is ready in seconds and its amazing. And there was shrimp, taro, spinach, fish dumplings, fish balls, and other vegetables I don't know the name of. I sat there with a group of other moms whom I don't get to talk to often and we're just hanging out and enjoying each others' company as we wait for the food to cook.
Its totally communal and it melts the self-righteousness and contempt away.
P.S. I stole the pic from someone else's blog because my copyright-free site had pictures of fondue when I looked up "hot pot". Go figure.