Tonight is a special night. I’m going to help Grandma make dinner! And we are making something very exotic: Chinese food.
I’ve helped Grandma make pies and cookies and wash strawberries, but I’ve never helped her make Chinese food before. “I’ve never made Chinese food before either,” Grandma confides with a wink.
I guess Chinese food needs lots of vegetables because we cleaned mushrooms, peppers, and something called “bok choy.” I like saying that. Bok choy, Bok choy… I have a feeling it tastes like spinach, but maybe a bit crunchier.
Now we need to clean the carrots. “Hold the peeler like this,” Grandma explains. I hold the peeler in my hand and she holds my hand in hers. Her hands are so warm and soft. She helps me drag the peeler along the carrot and the skin lifts off. Magic! “Now you try,” she says. She lets my hand go, stands behind me and watches. I like standing near Grandma because she always smells so nice. Like flowers mixed with fruit punch. I drag the peeler along the carrot and more skin comes off. “Yes, just like that,” Grandma says. I glance up and see her smiling. “I’m a good peeler!” I say. Grandma laughs. “Yes, pet, you are!”
I see a jar of something on the counter beside my pile of freshly peeled carrots. “What’s that?” I ask.
“It’s called plum sauce,” says Grandma. Then she leans in closer to me and whispers, “Want to try some?”
I look up at her eagerly and nod my head. Grandma takes a spoon out of the drawer, then twists the cap off the jar. It opens with a pop! She scoops out a spoonful and hands it to me. It looks like jam. I open my mouth, close it around the spoon, and taste it. Sweet, tangy… Grandma takes the spoon out of my mouth. “Do you like it?” Grandma asks. I nod my head again. She whispers, “So do I!” And she takes a big spoonful and she eats it. She scoops out some more and hands it to me. Down the hatch! A small blob had dropped onto my chin and we laugh.
We cook the vegetables in something called a “wok.” Grandma lets me stir the vegetables around and around in the wok, and I hear them sizzle and see them steam. Their colours get darker. We have a few more spoonfuls of plum sauce.
By the time the Chinese food is ready there is only a little bit of plum sauce left. We sit at the table and I can’t wait to try our fancy meal. Grandpa takes the jar of plum sauce and his spoon clink-a-clinks as he scrapes the bottom of the jar to get the last of the sauce out. “I thought I bought a whole jar of plum sauce,” he wonders out loud.
“You did,” Grandma says, and she winks and smiles at me.