October 26, 2009
In general I try not to be snobby about my California ways. It's not helpful, and it's certainly not going to win me any friends, but here's where I probably cross the line: chow mein.
In California, chow mein is a delicious dish with noodles. Well, of course, all of you west-coasters are thinking. Mein means noodle, doesn't it?
Maybe, maybe not.
Out here in New England an order of chow mein will get you a gloopy gravy mess of veggies and meat with not one noodle in sight. The first time I ordered chow mein, I thought the restaurant got my order wrong. The second time, I thought it was just that one lousy restaurant, and then I tried again somewhere else (I can be tenacious when it comes to my chow, I suppose). "No, it cant' be true," I cried to R upon opening the little white to-go carton. Alas.
There's a lot of conversation on the web about the difference in east coast and west coast chow mein, but no one seems to be certain about the reason for it. Some people say that noodle-less chow mein is Cantonese style. I don't know if that's true; all I know is, I want some stinkin' noodles.
My friend Bio Mama, who is also from California, suggested I order the lo mein next time. I'll let ya'll know how it turns out.
Also, while I'm being obnoxious, everyone out here pronounces the word loam, "loom." The landscaper told us we needed to get a good loom, and I thought, "but we don't own sheep."
It's ok, I pronounced the word for wet concrete, "sea-ment" long into adulthood, until a good friend laughed heartily at my use of the word. Next thing you know, I'll be saying "loom" too.