When I first started working with the 300 +/- people at "The Company's" Global R & D, I welcomed the vast differences of coworkers backgrounds, ages, education levels, life experiences and cultures. I was introduced to foods and traditions I would never have any other chance to experience and while the simple Scallion Pancake may not seem like a life altering event to many with various simple Chinese take-out restaurants in their neighborhood, I was one to sort of stick with the items I was mostly familiar. Branching out may mean trying a different version of Four Seasons or Happy Family.
One day, a group of us went to lunch with our Director who often shared stories of her past employment in food related industries including Kraft and Pepsi (ok, she somehow worked it in to every conversation) and she ordered Scallion Pancakes to start.
I couldn't wrap my head around what was to come. Would they be like a potato pancake, a breakfast pancake, a knish? Would they have shoots of green onion sticking out? Aaackk!
When the plate was set in the middle of the table and my nose not only accepted but welcomed the warm blend of aromas from gentle oniony to the familiar whisper of fried food. I waited to see what the proper etiquette would be for eating the new found treats - did one pick them up or use the fork? Well, the jury is still out as my table mates were divided about the correct procedure. However, the one thing I knew for sure was that I had found a new top 10 favorite food.
The Director has since left. The restaurant underwent a major renovation and revamping of the menu which eliminated our beloved appetizer. We would still go, a smaller and smaller group, and find new favorites. I am guilty of having the shrimp with rice noodles (that I eat with a spoon and fork in a quasi-Italian fashion) so frequently that the waitress simply brings the spoon without my request.
This past Friday, a smaller more intimate gathering of myself and just 2 coworkers ordered a plate of Scallion Pancakes. Our lives have changed vastly. I am going through the most transition right now and try to walk a balanced line between a wildly and ever changing range of emotions. I find comfort eating with my friends and being reunited with a wonderful food.