Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving at Moh Goon

Back at the old Kung Fu school we Thanksgiving was a pretty big Holiday. Basically because many of the Restaurant workers who didn't yet have family here would get a Turkey from their restaurant. So the Kung Fu school would end up having all sorts of Turkeys lying around to eat. There was Turkey that was cooked like Char Siu and all kinds of experiments. People would ask me (since I was white) what was the deal with this holiday. In Chinese Thanksgiving is actually called "Fau Gai Jeet" or Turkey holiday, or actually fire bird is the word for turkey.

Sifu mentioned there was some sort of wild bird in China that is similar to the wild bird that the turkey was bred from here.... that it was rather hardy and could handle cold weather. Before most people will look at me like I have two heads when I say this though.

In recent times you actually see more American wild turkeys crossing streets in JP.

There were other "holiday" foods at Moh Goon during thanksgiving that had nothing to do with Chinese or American Culture and everything to do with circumstance. For instance, at 4:00 am there was often a guy coming buy to sell illegal fish. And sometimes restaurant workers who had ventured to out of state places like Maine would come back to Moh Goon (there closest thing to home and family) with wild game like beaver, that lo fahn hunter/trappers had brought into the Chinese Restaurant to sell. These White guys were interested in the fur only and knew that Chinese could do something with the meat. A lot of Americans think that Chinese restaurants serve that stuff and they turn their noses up thinking it is somehow gross. But Chinese don't serve it because wild game meat is special... too special to serve. That type of meat was brought to Moh Goon for home cooking. The soup kept you warm in a way domesticated meat didn't.

Now of course I've watched some documentaries and I know why laws were passed against this type of fishing and hunting and I'm not encouraging it at all.

Another thing about Thanksgiving is that it is traditionally one of the few days off for a Chinese Restaurant worker. And so it had become a time when the Casinos capitalize on this. In fact they even try to draw large crowds of Chinese through concerts with famous Hong Kong Singers performing at Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods. This actually seems sort of fitting since these concerts and casinos are on Indian Reservations. (though I doubt the tribes maintain full control anymore.)

 What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Are they traditional Turkey Dinner? Or is there something particularly Chinese-ish about your Thanksgiving?

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