I realized recently that I am a boxer. I have SPAM (™) to thank for this. The SPAM (™) you eat, not the SPAM (™) you read.
I realized this at about the same time as I realized that I am married, and yet living about 830 miles away from my wife (she’s Chinese, which will come as a total surprise to absolutely everyone here). She’s very well-fed, now, because she had to take care of her siblings during the Cultural Revolution, when her parents were sent away to work. This was the time when the only law enforcement was composed of crazed teenagers with weapons who hated school (what could go wrong?). So, my wife figured out how to create amazing meals out of dirt and left-over yeast.
And now I’m very well-fed. When I visit her. Eight hundred and thirty miles away. This isn’t often, and so I have to improvise.
Important pro tip:
AN IMPORTANT PSA FROM MAINLAND CHINESE:
DO NOT CONSUME OR OTHERWISE USE ANYTHING FROM MAINLAND CHINA,
ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH
This is because it will certainly make you very sick, and quite possibly kill you.
So, my wife uses only ingredients from Taiwan or South Korea.And she makes the best breakfast noodles you could ever imagine.
Now, I need to make clear that I am a GREAT COOK. Superlatively good, in fact. I can, and have, made most of the great dishes of western cuisine. But being alone for many years makes a jar of peanut butter look very good as an entree. And there are no other courses. I sometimes eat avocado and hummus, to prep for TV boxing. Or stir fry thinly-sliced pork with asparagus, garlic, and mushrooms (with a sauce of balsamic vinegar and heavy mushroom soy; I can explain how to do that later). But this is not what I want to talk about.
And then I got this Chinese wife. Now, PC Westerners may object to what I’m about to say (the Chinese have no idea what’s going on here; they still call Asian "Oriental"), but this is all the truth.
Chinese wives, first of all, are absolutely and completely dependable and trustworthy. At least mine is. I’ve actually heard other stories …
You know, thinking about this, I have to back up a bit. There is first, the issue of green cards. This can be a mine field. I have a story about a friend of mine, a Chinese, as it happens, whose wife had left him. He was a physicist at the end of the downslope of his career, which means for physicists that they have nothing. So, with two kids, he decided to look for love.
I, myself, don’t understand why he didn’t just take to drink. After all, he’d finished his career, he had a shitload of money, and he was way, way too old to schtupp anyone. But, he went on several dating sites.
At one point, he tried to talk me into double-dating with him. Well, there were two considerations, actually three, that argued against this idea: 1) I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time; 2) Fred (I’ll call him "Fred", because that’s awful close to his real name) wanted to set me up with another girl he’d met online, who only needed $300 more to make the final trip to the good ol’ USA, the land of the free and the home of the brave, and become my faithful and loyal wife for all time; 3) he was freaking desperate, and the girl he was with wanted some third party present. Because, really, Fred was weird. He wore powder-blue Peter Pan boots even in summer, and walked with his knees together, like he had his weenie caught in a test tube or some other arcane laboratory apparatus.So, Fred was alone. Very alone.
So, Fred and I never double-dated. The last time I saw him, he was 67, had cancer, and had cut his hair into a Mohawk and was wearing black leather with metal studs. If you’re listening somewhere, sorry I didn’t date with you, Fred.
I still have some lingering resentments, though. You see, I was teaching Fred taiji (he was Chinese, but that really means nothing now about knowing anything about Chinese culture), and I had lent him some books about the history and practice of taiji. He never returned them. I guess I can forgive him for that, seeing as how he’s dead and all,
So, about green cards. Fred never got his mail-order bride.
But lots of western men get Asian women to be their wives, because of these magic "green cards." And by "western men," I mean "white guys." There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, because people have throughout history gotten together for all kinds of reasons, and the best and most valid of these reasons have been economic. Also, asian women are very hot. But I didn’t get my wife that way.
I met my wife through our jobs, she at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, and I at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Blahblahblah, we ended up married, in front of a dried up fountain in front of an unused courthouse, but that’s another story.
But, we’re married. And I love her for many reasons: For one thing, even with all my academic qualifications, she makes me look like a complete idiot; second, she manages to keep all of her social connections, and enjoy them, whereas I’m a complete oaf in these matters; third, and most importantly, she never ever gets mad or loses patience. She is very Oriental (oops; "Asian") that way. I’ve tested her to what I would think would be the limit of any human, and still, she is there. And uncomplaining. And patient.
But, after 4 ½ months, I’m on my own, and I don’t have her food anymore. Just as a short aside, the Chinese think that if you don’t have at least three full meals every day you will die, or at least get very sick, and then die. So, one of the things a Mainland Chinese wife does is cook three full meals every day, or if she won’t be home, she’ll cook them ahead of time. And this is always. I’ve cooked many things for us as well, including a wonderful "almost flour-less chocolate cake" that I made for her for St. Valentine’s Day; this is quite a story, which I’ll tell you sometime. But, aside from that, nd the pan-roasted potatoes, and the marinated beef flaps, I haven’t made much for her, because she makes jellyfish and noodles and squashed sea slugs and so on. Who could beat that?
So, being here, all alone and destitute and alone, I had to finally get out of bed and make some food.
And, what did I have? Well, besides Scottish kippered herring (alway a great favorite among bachelors), and some canned soup, I found SPAM(™)!!!
Yes. SPAM(™). Two cans, in fact. How SPAM (™) got into my pantry (I have an actual New England pantry, which is another story that would involve how I bought this house to begin with, after 35 years of renting; and those are a lifetime of stories).
I know what SPAM(™) is, since I ate cans and cans of it as a kid. But I’m used to delicately sauteed pork with asparagus and baby bella mushrooms, with very fresh garlic and a wine sauce. Oh, and balsamic vinegar and dark soy.
So, after some thought, I fried the whole freaking can and ate it.
This must be what it’s like to be a fighter, away from your loved ones. You remember, and try to recreate in your mind what it’s like to be with them.
And then you wake up, and eat spam.