I had quite a few favorite moments watching ABC’s world premiere of “Fresh Off The Boat” last Wednesday. One moment I just can’t seem to get out of my mind is when Eddie brought mom’s special Chinese lunch to school and opened it in front of the “popular” kids in the cafeteria. All the non-Asian kids freaked out, disgusted by the mere sight of one of Asia’s great culinary staples. And Eddie, trying hard to validate his nut, had to slink away, ashamed, back to the “colored” table.
I had a moment very similar to FOB’s Eddie. But instead of a bowl of fried noodles, my mom sent me to school with a rice ball. Now understand, I LOVED my mom’s rice balls. It was one of my favorite foods that I would eat all the time at home, on our station wagon road trips to national parks, and at countless family gatherings. We had just moved from Illinois to Southern California. It was 1978 and I would be starting my first day of 2nd grade at my local elementary school. Mom bought me a new backpack, new clothes, and a new lunch pail for my first day. I was ready. Boy was I in for a surprise, for my mom, in her most thoughtful way, packed me my favorite food for my first lunch. Who knew that in about 4 hours, my favorite food of all time would become one of my biggest embarrassments.