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Pet Peeve: Peeled Ginger

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…

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4 thoughts on “Pet Peeve: Peeled Ginger

  1. hehe. great post. i agree that it’s been made out to be the wonder ingredient…but for the record,i peel my ginger and actually i’ve noticed that the stuff in singapore (although still big chunks is peeled and definitely have gotten a few big chunks mistaken for something else in my mouth here!). my mom doesn’t peel her ginger, though. as for water chestnuts…definitely used by my mom in cooking; the fresh ones are awesome!let’s talk about Martin Yan in person sometime (he’s an auxiliary pet peeve all by himself! :p )for a practical tip for those who desire to remove the outer peel…you don’t need to use a knife to peel the ginger. just use a normal teaspoon (ie, one you’d use for cereal) and it works great…just use it to scrape off the outer fiber…

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