Kitchen Notes #1: Quirky Food Habits

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Kitchen Notes is a series featuring random observations, haphazard thoughts, and half-baked ideas that most often bubble up when food is involved. If you’re interested in submitting your own set of notes, drop a line and get in touch!

How Do You Take Your Eggs?

Since I was a kid, my mom always served us eggs with soy sauce. If they were hard-boiled, there would be a little dish of soy sauce and a tiny spoon next to it, so you could daintily drip the sauce onto the egg before you took each bite. If they were fried (always over easy), she would pour a bit of soy sauce onto them. This was how my grandma (my mom’s mom) made her eggs and in turn, this was how my mom did it for us. I never questioned it and assumed this was what all Asian people did.

At some point, I mentioned this soy-sauce-with-eggs habit of mine to someone else who happened to be Asian-American. Shockingly, they’d never heard of this. But what was more shocking was when they told me they usually ate eggs with salt or NOTHING AT ALL. When I told my mom about this though, she simply shrugged and said, “Yes, some other families usually eat it with salt. But your grandma thought soy sauce was tastier. And I think she’s right.”

I don’t know if I’m actually in a minority of people who do this, or if it just seems like it because no one else I know eats eggs with soy sauce. But every time I eat eggs now, I give thanks to my grandma, who taught my mom this way of eating it. The few times I’ve been lazy and just added salt (or, gasp, nothing), the eggs have not really hit the spot for me. So soy sauce it is, and soy sauce it shall be when I have my own kids one day.

When all of us kids were still in school and living at home, my family would often go to Souplantation on Friday nights. From a young age, my youngest sister showed her creative flair when it came to food. She’d do this thing with chopped hard-boiled eggs where she mixed in cheddar cheese and fried wontons before drizzling it all with Thousand Island dressing. None of us understood it and teased her for such a combo, but she’d simply say it was delicious and continue eating, completely unperturbed by us.

Looking back on it, I think it’s pretty incredible for a six-year-old to have discovered this combination of flavors and texture on her own. Today, my sister’s love of food and flavor/texture combinations has only intensified and she dreams of one day opening her own cafe. If she becomes famous, I’ll tell everyone about this story and declare that she was basically a child prodigy.