It’s strange how a playground conversation in passing can culminate into such a pleasant evening. Wang Ning and Ting Ting are a lovely couple (and couple) of Chinese teachers at my school. I happen to be on playground duty with both of them over the working week. Over the months we have started to have more and more conversations about eating animals. I don’t think they had ever heard of ‘vegan’ before and they had lots of questions. They had some concerns too, particularly about eating how to eat a balanced diet so I tried to explain a bit about it and they get it. I suggested they read a Chinese translation of The China Study to understand about the health aspects of eating this way. I also sent Ting Ting a You Tube video of Gary Yourofsky’s speech which has subtitles in Chinese*. (BTW: I should add that their English is excellent, but it’s always easier to understand these rather abstract concepts in your first language. Well, for me anyway) She watched it and was quite shocked and saddened at what she learned. Sensing she might need to debrief a bit, I invited them both over, but instead of cooking for them, they cooked for me. How lucky am I? They cooked two different Chinese salads. One had rice noodles as a base with carrots and peanuts and lots of garlic and sesame oil. The other had tofu skins and blanched celery. I’ve eaten tofu skin before but never prepared it. It’s so good. It has such a chewy and satisfying texture that makes a delicious meat substitute. I did cook dessert. I made my first batch of icecream here in Indonesia. There is no access to the richer soy milk here, so I was concerned that it might not be as good. It wasn’t as rich as it might have been, but it was still good. Such a pleasant and delicious evening with the two of them. I adore their open minds and hearts.
* A note for animal advocates. I really recommend suggesting Gary Yourofsky’s speech to those whose first language is not English. It has been translated in to many different languages and in that 50 minutes he challenges the viewer on their thinking. Another of my colleagues sat through it and blogged about it. I am loving all these open minds and hearts here at SWA.