Today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, a particularly auspicious one. It’s the Year of the Dragon, the creature redolent of power and success for the Chinese, which augers well for just about any life undertaking.
I have really enjoyed reading about the tradition-filled intersection of food and ritual in Chinese culture so prominently on display during New Year celebrations. For example, a great post came out today from Anna Mindess of Bay Area Bites that explains which foods are symbolically significant to the Chinese, and why families prepare and eat certain foods, such as fish, in a certain way, in a ritualistic order.
I myself am a novice at Chinese cooking. So I immediately latched on to the Vegetarian Egg Rolls Nita-Nee baked up on “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Swiss Chard.” My daughter came home last week with artwork related to the New Year and bubbled over with tidbits of information she learned in school about Chinese culture and the all-important New Year’s holiday. We had gotten a ‘taste’ of the Dragon at Boston’s First Night Parade, but now I feel I have a food to offer to extend her experience.
I like that these egg rolls are vegetable filled, light because they’re baked, and purportedly “a cinch to make.” It means they meet all of my criteria for a mid-week meal: healthy, fast, tasty. And they look fun to make — fun for me, fun for my kids. I recognize this is a beginner’s stance to a sophisticated cuisine. But, the way I figure it, what better way to introduce them to the cuisine that’s connected to the Year of the Dragon and complement classroom learning with a food experience. It’s a start. Hopefully, an auspicious one!
A very Happy New Year to all our readers celebrating or honoring the Year of the Dragon. Remember that Boston’s Chinese New Year Parade takes place this coming Sunday, January 29th.