Now that my culture has been absorbed into the smorgasborg of American cuisine, I’ve been seeing more ginger being used on more cooking shows than ever before. I laugh when they shrink their shoulders, close their eyes, smile
dreamily, and stick a giant piece of ginger up their nose as they try
to convince all of us how amazing ginger is. I laugh every time the cooks go all orgasmic over the “scintillating, spicy-sweet, pungent, exotic” taste of ginger (obviously, they’ve never bitten into that gigantic chicken-looking piece on accident before). I laugh whenever they try to show off their cultural awareness by bragging about how “the Chinese” have used ginger in their cooking and medicines for “thousands of years”, etc., etc., etc. It’s all very funny because I don’t really know any Chinese (outside of Chinese newspapers) who speak of ginger in this way — it’s something we grew up with, accidentally bit into.
But the laughing stops at this: peeled ginger. Never…NEVER have I once seen my mom, my grandmothers, my aunts, my friend’s mom’s, nor their grandmothers — not even Mr. Yan Can Cook peel ginger. Never have I seen them pull out a paring knife and skillfully shave off the “tough fibrous exterior” of ginger as if it were an apple pear. Never. Then again, I’ve never seen any Chinese person use water chestnuts in their cooking either, so so much for anecdotal evidence…