(I wrote this like a hundred years ago. But then I saw Max’s friend Brandon cooking in my kitchen, and it all came back to me. Poor kid. He makes his own food at my house. What kind of person am I?)

This is about when I made food with Yen.

Yen said she’d be at my house at 10.

Around 11, I called her and asked her if we were still making food happen.

She said yeah, I’ll be there in a few.

Tay had an appointment at a special tooth doctor this day also, at 1:00.

She has a tooth problem. It’s really a big deal.

She has no teeth.

Okay, she has some, but not all.

So we need to get her some.

But I needed to learn to make Vietnamese eggrolls and fat noodles.

So I got into Yen’s car.

And then we started driving away from Boulder. This was completely unexpected. I have no idea why, since I’ve never graced the door of any Asian market, ever.

(Notice they are not called Oriental Markets. I was once told by a sweet Asian friend that Oriental things are rugs, not people. Big no no.)

I asked Yen why we weren’t shopping in Boulder.

She told me that the only place to shop in town had been shut down by the health officials three times, and that she (Yen) was no longer welcome at this shop. She didn’t elaborate. I didn’t ask.

We ended up in Broomfield. I think. (I was texting an incredibly stressed out Brad this whole time arranging for him to take Tay to the tooth doctor. He was greatly displeased but values both eggrolls and Taylor’s face, so he agreed.)

This market was awesome.

I’ve never seen so many colors.

Or dead ducks on hanger things.

Or dough full of stuff I’ve never heard of.

Have I mentioned that the first time I ate Chinese food was in college?

We shopped forever, I got stared at a lot (I was very tall in there), managed to avoid food with legs and I spent only $18 for every ingredient.

This is Yen.

She has 4 boys she is raising alone. Her husband was killed in a car accident the first year we moved to Boulder and I immediately decided we would be friends. Max and her son, Brandon, are best friends, so I guess this was the right call. Her family used to own a restaurant, but she put herself through nursing school. And now she’s my hero.

She also cooks with chopsticks.

I had no idea people did that.

We started with eggrolls.

She threw tons of stuff in a bowl and started mushing it. With her hands.

Fearless.

Then we wrapped the goop. It’s the same as wrapping a burrito, except sideways.

This should be more of a triangle. Whatever.

I employed several children to help. (Brandon was thrilled about this. He’s lactose intolerant. Max lives off of cheese. Brandon was secretly hoping he would have more options when he comes over.)

She fried them with chopsticks. I mean, really.

 

Golden brown. This takes patience.

Then we were on to the noodles. Yen got in her car and said “I’ll be right back.”

Huh?

She lives around the corner. She comes back with a knife. A sharp one.

I only have serrated steak knives to cook with.

Not acceptable.

The woman went home and brought back a knife.

Me: Yen. Did you just go home and get a knife?

Yen: Yeah. Your knives are terrible.

Me: I know.

Yen: Here. Try to cut this chicken with this knife.

Me: Okay.

Yen: You’re terrible.

Me: I know.

Yen: Cut against the grain.

Me: I thought chickens only ate grain?

Yen: What?

Me: Nevermind.

Then we made noodles with onions and other stuff. And then we ate it. It was delicious.

And exhausting.

Yen gave me her knife.

The End.

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