A few weeks ago, some of my extended family came to town to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th anniversary. As is tradition with my family, “celebrate” means ordering and consuming an ungodly amount of food.
As is Chinese tradition, the chicken in the poached chicken dish (which you can see at about 12:30 on the lazy susan in the above photo) arrived at the table with all relevant (and cooked) body parts. Including the head. Which was also cooked.
I am Chinese. I have grown up eating authentic Chinese food. The Chinese traditionally cook animals whole (sans organs), chop them up and serve them after arranging everything to resemble the whole body, for good luck. Therefore, I am used to seeing whole lobsters — with heads — arrive at the table. I am used to seeing whole fish — with heads — arrive at the table. I am used to seeing shrimp — with heads — arrive at the table.
But never until now had I seen a chicken — with its head — arrive at the table.
So that was new, and slightly grotesque, but fun. And now you can understand, perhaps, why I suddenly didn’t feel too hungry after the poached chicken dish came out of the kitchen.