Oded and Bimini represent a wonderful bonding of Jewish and Chinese culture.
If you think about it, in many ways, Jewish and Chinese people are kindred spirits.
Both cultures use a different” calendar. We celebrate our own New Years. We dream of our children becoming or marrying doctors. Jewish bubbes (grandmas) like to get together to play the same game as Chinese bubbes. It’s called mah-jongg. (I was astounded to learn that Chinese people played it, too. Then I discovered, it’s actually a Chinese game, not a Jewish game! No wonder it has all those fancy little drawings instead of letters.) Who plays mah-jongg besides Chinese women and their Jewish counterparts? Kindred spirits indeed. But most of all, there’s the food.
Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if Chinese mothers feed their kids just like our Yiddishe mamas do. I tease my mother about her “Igots.” Whenever I come over she asks me if I’m hungry, and before waiting for an answer she tells me, “I got some chicken, I got a little leftover pot roast, I got cheese…” (basically the “Igots” are a listing of everything in the refrigerator, and maybe the freezer too, because it wouldn’t take long to thaw the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.)
But when it comes to food, you have to know that many if not most Jews have a romance with Chinese food. Some of their dishes are similar to things our bubbes used to make, only more exotic. For example, Chinese potstickers could be compared to Jewish blintzes (the meat kind, not the cheese kind) and won ton soup is like chicken soup with kreplach (that’s what we call our dumplings).
But what I think it really comes down to is the love. Ours are both very nurturing cultures. Whenever I speak at a Chinese church, I’m always invited to lunch afterward. And after lunch, they always hand me a box of leftovers, “For later.” Just like Mom. And I leave thinking the same thing as when I leave my mother’s house: I’ll start my diet tomorrow.