|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/09/09 10:49 《英语学习》|
The Real Life Theatre of a Cross- border Marriage(III)
By Liang Chen
李金达 Hugh Tansley 审校
As a husband who remains irremediably Chinese, I enjoy eating Chinese food and in particular cooking Chinese food. Even as a student during my early days in Europe, I had enjoyed performing my "percussion concert" with pans, bowls, spoons and tubs in my tiny studio and used to invite a band of hard-up Chinese students to share my "masterpieces." However, my wife, good at French cooking and furthermore keen to keep a high standard of hygiene in our house, categorically dismissed my efforts as a Chinese chef, who stir-fried everything, and thus was a big consumer of oil and a big source of pollution. One day, however, the laid-off chef, could not help asking her to step down to make room for him: "My darling, today, I really want to prepare some Chinese food, a Sichuan speciality for us to feast upon. Could you please lend me the kitchen?" "No problem, but don't make too much greasy dirt." My wife, used to cooking in pure water, was excited, but a little bit worried. I shut the door and, as a cook, began to play happily and loudly with the cooking utensils and dance around the oven. The menu was fixed one week earlier. Soon, the strong smell of Sichuan delicacies spread all over the house and I appeared with the first course of savouries "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So" ?several cold dishes: a preserved egg dressed with coriander, pig's ear covered in pepper, Sichuan style pickles. "Come on, Darling! " I proudly called out.
Dressed in a red cheongsam to match the chef's masterpieces, my lovely wife came with deliberate steps into the dining room. "What's this?" She asked doubtfully, pointing at the black egg on the plate. "This is a Chinese speciality, Songhuadan. In fact it is a hen's egg, preserved in a mixture of water, lime, clay, salt and rice husks, with pine needle-shaped veins (songhua) running through the egg whites, hence the name Songhua; in Europe it is also called the egg of one hundred years. It is a real delicacy. Taste it." Seeing her hesitating, I brought a piece of Songhuadan up to her mouth. "Horrible! Why is it so smelly?" she frowned, nearly vomiting it up. "My darling, it is delicious! Why do you find it disgusting?" I was puzzled. Seeing dark clouds cover her face, I hastened to resort to the usual panacea "I love you." The magic remedy produced the desired result: the clouds dispersed and her face was brightened again by sunshine. However she resolutely refused to venture a further bite.
"Please taste this Sichuan style pickle. I made it myself. Wow, it is really appetizing!" With my chopsticks, I put a radish pickle into her mouth! "My god, too sour!" She shivered and gritted her teeth. "Come on, please taste this delicacy! In the seventies we could afford it only during the Chinese New Year. It is as good as the French speciality: duck liver p塼?" I could not stop myself suggesting the traditional Chinese dish. Eagerly, I put one slice in front of her mouth. "What's this?" She became more vigilant. "Pig's ear!" "My goodness! Do you really eat pig's ear?" She closed her eyes, frightened, as if she had fallen into the hands of cannibals.
"My darling, don't panic. The best dishes will be following." I brought out a plate of piping hot bean curd, a plate of meat shreds in fish flavour and a plate of pig's paws braised in soy sauce. "The spicy Mapo bean curd is a Sichuan speciality, please try it!" While urging her, I put it on her plate. Waving her knife and fork, whoops, she smashed it to pieces, crushing it to pulp. "Oh no, I can't feel my tongue anymore!" She cried, panic-stricken. "Don't worry. The prickly ash in the Mapo bean curd is disinfecting your tongue!" I remained calm and showed her another dish. "Come on, please try a little bit of Yuxiang pork shreds. It is my masterpiece: a special number!" I quickly served a spoonful. "My month is on fire. Please put it out!" Tears falling like raindrops, she asked for help. Seeing her suffering, I immediately brought a spoonful of rice to her burning mouth. The fire was finally extinguished, but she was still a blushing beauty in tears. "Darling, I'm very sorry, but Sichuan food is known for its hot and pungent taste. I have put pepper and Chinese prickly ash in it. You know, I want to make it as spicy as our love! Anyhow, I will not continue to cook in the same way!"
我这个无可救药的中国丈夫喜欢吃中餐，更乐于挽袖下厨。 从前在欧洲当留学生时我就喜欢在自己的蜗居里玩锅碗,弄瓢盆,演奏个人打击乐音乐会，并常常请一帮穷留学生分享我的杰作。 不过妻子精于法式烹饪并且酷爱维持室内清洁。中国庖丁总是喜欢什么都油煎油爆，是一个大油耗子和大污染源,因此妻子根本不理会中国庖丁的一厢情愿并毫不留情地请其下岗。有一天，下岗厨师终于忍不住请妻子让贤：“亲爱的，今天我想做中国菜，做一桌川菜，让咱们一饱口福。你把厨房借给我好吗?”“没问题！不过油烟不要太大。”习惯于清水煮菜的夫人叮嘱道，显得有些兴奋,也有些担心。我这位厨师关好厨房门,然后就在里面兴高采烈丁零当啷地演奏起锅碗瓢盆打击乐并跳起了锅边舞。 菜谱早在一周前就已经定好， 很快浓烈的川菜香在房子里弥漫开来。我端出第一道香喷喷的“哆来咪发嗦”——几盘凉菜: 撒满香菜的松花蛋、撒满辣椒面的凉拌猪耳朵丝、四川泡菜。“快来, 亲爱的!”我得意洋洋地大叫。
为了配合中国大厨的杰作，我那可爱的妻子特意穿上中国红色旗袍。 她迈着小碎步，款款来到饭厅。“这是什么？”妻子疑惑地指着盘里的黑东西。 “这是中国的特产——松花蛋，其实它是鸡蛋，用水混合石灰、黏土、食盐、稻壳泡制而成。因蛋青上有松针状的花纹(松花), 所以叫松花蛋；欧洲也称其为百年蛋。 它其香无比。 尝尝吧！” 看到妻子犹豫不决的样子， 我亲自把一牙皮蛋送到了她的嘴边。“真可怕! 怎么这么臭？”她眉头紧锁，差一点儿就要吐出来。“亲爱的，松花蛋这么香，你怎么会觉得它恶心？”我大惑不解。看着她那乌云密布的脸，我赶紧使用灵丹妙药：“我爱你！”神药起了作用，她脸上随即云开日出。不过她决不愿意再冒险咬上一口。
“尝尝四川泡菜吧！这是我亲手制作的。啊，真开胃！”我又用筷子夹了一块泡萝卜放进她嘴里。“哇，老天爷, 真酸！”夫人打了个寒颤，咬紧牙关。“来来来，再尝尝这个好东西。在七十年代, 我们只有在春节时才能吃到它。 它的味道决不比你们法国特产鹅肝酱差！”我忍不住向她推荐这道传统的中国菜， 急切地把一小条猪耳朵送到了她嘴边。“
这又是什么？”她警惕起来。“猪耳朵。” “我的妈呀！你真吃猪耳朵？”她紧闭双眼，惊恐万状, 像落入食肉生番的手里。“亲爱的，不要怕，好菜都在后头。”我端出一盘热气腾腾的豆腐、一盘鱼香肉丝和一盘红烧猪蹄。“辣辣的麻婆豆腐是四川特色菜，来尝尝！”我一边说，一边将菜放到她盘里。夫人刀叉齐下，把豆腐杀了个粉身碎骨。“哎呀，我的舌头怎么没啦？” 她大声惊呼。 “不要慌， 麻婆豆腐里的花椒正在给你的舌头消毒!” 我镇静自若，并向她展示另一道菜。“来，再来点鱼香肉丝。这也是我的杰作，我的拿手好戏。” 我把满满一勺肉丝塞进她嘴里。 “我嘴里起火了！快快扑火！” 妻子泪如雨下, 拼命求救。 我一看情况不妙，赶紧把一勺白米饭塞进她喷火的嘴里。火终于扑灭，但妻子却成了面红耳赤的泪美人。 “亲爱的，真对不起。但四川菜以麻辣为特色，我在鱼乡肉丝里加了些辣椒和花椒。 我想让它像我们的爱情那样火辣。 不过我以后不会再这样做饭了。”
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