Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chinese Tomato Egg Soup

I had to see it to believe it. Out of my nearly-empty refrigerator, my friend pulled out two eggs and two tomatoes.  Presto! Soup for six.


Tomato Egg Soup with Cilantro


Within the time it took to boil a pot of water, my friend Yingjie diced the tomatoes, beat the eggs, and concocted the traditional Chinese soup. She added salt and pepper, a few drops of sesame oil. She topped it off with chopped cilantro.


Yingjie is a visiting scientist, working in Ottawa to research  indoor air pollutants. She was my houseguest for a few weeks as she got settled in this foreign land.

Everyday, she shared with me observations of Canadian people and customs.  "Why are so many people here so fat? I've never seen such fat people. In China, I am fat."  All 115 pounds of her.
"Why do you put ice in your drinks? The body is 37 degrees. The body likes same temperature. In China, we warm our Coca Cola." 
Odd habits asides, Yingjie is in awe at all of our freedoms and luxuries. "I can't believe you can buy anything you like, so much food from anywhere in the world." 
She often told me how blessed I am to be able to cook for three children and all their friends. "You are very lucky here. You can have many children. I have only one girl. If I get pregnant, I will lose my government job." 

She said that China's one-child policy is difficult for many of her female colleagues. "One of my friends, she had to kill her babies. Four times." She told about another friend who had to abandon her newborn. Her stories broke my heart.
She recounted these stories as she made her tomato egg soup.
In the background, my own children were squabbling, as siblings do. And Yingjie listened with a smile. She reminded me, "You are so lucky."


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