Try this: online.wsj.com/article_print/0, … 20,00.html
The original article, which appears in today’s Personal Journal section of the AWSJ, wraps up the 18 month “eat” series. All this article has about Han is a tiny blurb. The link I’ve posted here is to the original article by Stan about Han – dated May 2002.
By the way, I changed my name because I kept mistyping it.
Here’s a little bio on Sesser:
[quote=“Stan”]Anyone growing up on Jell-O molds must, of necessity, do a lot of serious eating as an adult to compensate.
For those who have never had the dubious pleasure, a Jell-O mold, which is haute cuisine in the American Midwest, starts out with garishly colored, super-sweet, packaged, powdered gelatin. You mix the powder with boiling water and canned fruit (because, aside from mushy red apples and tasteless bananas, fresh fruit is unknown in the Midwest), pour it into a circular aluminum mold, put it in the refrigerator, and several hours later, presto …We had one every single night. And, when company dropped by, there was inevitably a dual-ring version: say, a bottom layer of lime Jell-O with canned fruit cocktail and a top ring of cherry Jello mixed with canned peaches and melted cream cheese (to give it a pretty pink color).
One day, at age 18, away from the Midwest for the first time as a college student in New York City, my Brooklyn-born roommate took me to a Hunanese restaurant. It was the first meal I had ever had in which “taste” was a component. I have been making up for lost time ever since.
I had never eaten any sort of shellfish aside from shrimp. I had never had a piece of meat accompanied by a sauce because, as everyone in the Midwest knows, sauces are lethal. I had never even eaten a pizza. And certainly not brains, sheep’s eyes, water bugs, monkey, intestines, snakes, dogs, insects or those delicious fertile eggs in Saigon with the chicken embryos inside.
I have since taken pleasure in each of the above. You might call it a reaction to childhood deprivation, but I would call it logic. If it is okay to eat a cow or pig, what is wrong with eating a goat or horse? If you enjoy foie gras in a French restaurant, is a brain any more repellent than a liver?
But in the interest of full disclosure, I do have some biases. I am no fan of beef, because to my palate it has no flavor. Pork and poultry are good because the fat is tasty and flavors the meat. People eat pork fat (the delicious Chinese stewed pork bellies contain only a modicum of meat); they cook with chicken and duck fat. But how many dishes are cooked in beef fat?
I don’t like pretension. Five waiters hovering around a table interrupting the conversation by making a show each time they put down a fork, or refilling a water glass whenever someone takes a sip from it, add nothing to my meal. Modest is fine as long as the food is good: One of the greatest lunches I ever had was eaten while sitting on a dirt floor in a lean-to restaurant an hour from Lijiang, in China’s Yunnan Province. I will accept a tablecloth, but the food better be good.
I very much enjoy a good French or Italian meal. But, although I live in Bangkok and love Thai food, my favorite cuisine is Chinese. I would argue that anyone who disagrees hasn’t eaten it in the right places. You can start by getting a plane ticket to Taipei, which is where my eating begins for Personal Journal’s restaurant series.[/quote]