Las Cruces, NM, supplies all my needs except one — GOOD CHINESE FOOD. True, they have a few Chinese restaurants here, but they mainly offer food that has been sitting in steam tables for hours.
Good Chinese food is always freshly made to order. That is why, when I recently returned to Los Angeles, eating at a Chinese restaurant was my number one priority. Gorging on fresh pork dumplings, pea sprouts, and beef rolls, I devoured the perfect fix.
I was also fortunate to have visited during the 2015 Lunar New Year. As I eyed all the new souvenirs I heard myself skeptically say, “Probably made in China.” Duh, I should hope so.
When our children were young, we always brought them to Chinatown for the excitement, parade, and firecrackers. That was part of our family tradition, but I was reminded one year that I was an outsider.
During the festivities, I ran into a neighbor at a souvenir shop and when she left, I merrily said, “Happy New Year, Marie,” to which my offended salesperson retorted, “It’s not YOUR New Year.”
But ALL New Year’s celebrations are mine regardless of religion or ethnicity. I love the anticipation, the colorful rituals, the special clothing and colors, the feelings of hope that the new year will be an improvement over the last. These emotions are universal and should be shared.
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Norine Dresser is a folklorist who enjoys celebrating holidays — everyone’s holidays.