5 changes of a Chinese wife in England: on Food

I’ve been living in England since 1996. From being a student, a wife, to a mother, I’ve noticed my habits have changed quite a bit. Here is a list of my 5 changes regarding food:

1) I no longer own a rice cooker

The 2 British people in my life prefer pasta to rice. When my rice cooker broke a few years ago, I didn’t replace it, because I couldn’t find a good one even from John Lewis. I must be the only Chinese person under the sun without an electrical rice cooker. Now, whenever I need to cook rice, I use a saucepan and control the heat manually.

2) I enjoy drinking tea with cow’s milk

When I first arrived in England, cow’s milk in tea would irritate my body. I felt sick. I had tummy ache. After a while, my body slowly adapted to cow’s milk, and I’ve become a tea addict now and I drink tea with cow’s milk day and night. I also need a tea break very often.

3) I use a fork to eat rice on a plate

As we don’t eat rice a lot at home, when we have  rice, such as with Chilli Con Carne, we use fork to eat rice on a plate. In my previous life, rice was eaten from a bowl with chopsticks.

4) I eat thick slices of meat

Now I’m used to eating the British roast dinner — thick slices of meat with gravy. Sometimes I still feel it quite vulgar to consume meat this way. These meats are often separated from vegetables. In my previous life, meat was thinly sliced in bite size, and fried with vegetables.

5) I don’t hate cheese anymore though it still smells

I still don’t like cheese, and I still can’t tell their distinction, apart from the fact that some cheese are smellier than others. I ban certain cheese in the fridge, such as Stilton. However, I’ve grown to love cooked cheese in pasta, like cheesy pasta bake. I can also cope with white sauce in pasta.

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24 thoughts on “5 changes of a Chinese wife in England: on Food

  1. Colline

    It was interesting to read of your experiences. Me, I have married someone of Chinese descent and am now used to eating rice with chopsticks and a bowl. And take pleasure in eating meat, when we do prepare it, in thinly sliced strips. 🙂

  2. Janet Williams Post author

    I remember I used to eat more vegetables — proper vegetables than meat. I think thinly sliced meat might have to do with poverty in the past. Meat was almost like a decoration for a vegetable dish. When we had big chunks of meat in those days, it was normally when we celebrated the Chinese New Year and we really looked forward to the feast. My mum would kill the chicken herself too.

  3. rhmay

    I look forward to the next blog. You have had to make quite a few adjustments. Yet you are not there yet. When I see you with a plate of fish and chips smothered with ketchup I shall know that the transformation is complete.

      1. Doris Waddington

        i am a Malaysian who lived in Hull then Manchester so I like my fish and chips in Curry Sauce! plus my husband is from Blackpool
        we never ate with chopsticks at home in Sarawak even though we are chinese cos we are more “Nyonya” i had to learn how to use chopsticks when i started to go to chinese restaurants

      2. Janet Williams Post author

        I always have curry with my chips too. But my favourite curry is Malaysian curry, red and hot and oily. The curry in the UK is a bit too mild for me.

        Nyonya? I would love to hear about this more. How fascinating!

  4. irena12

    It’s interesting Janet how you slowly changed and adopted eating habits. I can only imagine that it was not easy to change it. I looking forward to read some more facts from your life. I enjoy to read them.

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    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Oh no! I’ve never tried that! In theory, it is ok to use chopsticks for spaghetti, but it would look very silly, I think. You’re meant to twirl the spaghetti with a fork, for the spaghetti to soak up the sauce, and eat it delicately!

      It’s hard work, isn’t it!

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