Thursday, September 17, 2009
Potato for the Go
Today, as I was walking by one of the friendly, overly flirtatious noodle seller, he was carrying a big tin bucket of steamed potatoes. He insisted I take one, and then gave me grief when I hesitated for so long. I decided I should be polite, so I grabbed a small potato, about the size of a plum. "That small potato! That's not okay!" the man scolded me. So, I grudgingly took a bigger potato, more the size of a banana. The potato had just been steamed and was piping hot in my hand. I asked noodle man how I should eat it; he said to just peel it and enjoy. In fact, I don't really like potatoes, and what does one do with a lone, steamed potato? Alas, it sits in my fridge and awaits its inevitable end. But, the potato is a symbol of hospitality in China; it reminds me of how the gate-keeper waves her bowl of half-eaten rice and cabbage at me whenever I walk by and insists I eat with her. Or the way the vegetable seller throws some extra garlic and pepper in my plastic bag for good measure. Yes, this lone potato, until it rots and smells up the fridge at least, will remind me of such grand hospitality in this little corner of China.