Chinese Food

Welcome to Part 3 of a Four Part Series entitled, “The Four Food Groups.” Last week we covered one of my long-time favorites, the Mexican Food group. This week, it’s Chinese Food. (The astute Back to the Fridge reader knows that a disclaimer is imminent: I have never been to China or eaten any truly, authentic Chinese food. My guess is I don’t want to. So I’m talking about what Americans call “Chinese Food” and not what the Chinese call “food”.)

I was a picky eater growing up. My mom raised me on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I wasn’t complaining. Well, except for that one time I decided to put pepper on one, and I didn’t like that at all. Then there was that other time I complained about “fluffernutters.” This was a horribly disgusting blend of peanut butter and marshmallow Fluff on white bread. I don’t know why it was invented, or worse, why it was fed to innocent children. This “food” was provided by the neighbors who watched us kids after school. I used to try to get their Dobermans to eat my sandwiches. It never worked.

I’m still a picky eater today, but my tastes have definitely branched out. For example, my new favorite sandwich is peanut butter and banana. Believe it or not, I’ve had one of those each day for the last three days. They’re incredible! I can’t believe I never thought I’d like them. Perhaps the fluffernutter turned me off to any non-standard PB&J sandwich. Fortunately I came to my senses.

Now … what was I talking about again? Oh yeah! Chinese food. The year after I graduated college I moved to Des Moines, a city known for its insurance industry and the fact that it has 2.4 Chinese restaurants per capita. Clearly, if I were to live in this town for any given period of time, I was going to have to learn to like this food.

So one day, after agreeing to meet a friend at a Chinese restaurant, I realized I was about to make a very big leap. I was going to have to eat food with color and taste. Worse, it was very likely to contain vegetables: a toxic substance as near as I could tell at the time. After scanning the menu to find the shallow-end equivalent of Chinese food, I settled on Kung Pao chicken. Once my order was placed, I nervously awaited the dish. My fears were quite founded when it came with “things” in it: carrots, broccoli, and several completely unidentifiable vegetable-like substances.

But then I tasted it. Oh boy! This was GOOD. Holy cow, I had no idea. The rest of the lunch went something like this: nom, nom, nom. I ate it all. Even the bits I couldn’t name.

Today, as you can see, I have elevated Chinese food to one of my four major food groups. I’m still a picky eater, of course, and there are still plenty of items I have not attempted—nor will I ever attempt. To be honest, I’m perfectly content with the 18.4% of the menu I adore.

Besides, it’s not as if I actually need more food to like. Watching what I eat is hard enough without piling on additional vices.

Tune in next week for the fourth and final food group. Anyone care to take any guesses!?

20 Responses to “Chinese Food”

Anonymous said
February 24, 2009 at 3:33 am


Helen said
February 24, 2009 at 6:30 am

Pizza. I suspect you’ve made pizza a food group of it’s own.

johngl said
February 24, 2009 at 6:41 am

Leave the best for last. 🙂

You remember Elvis? He was a peanut butter and banana man and you know what happened to him. You are treading on thin ice Charlie.

On another topic, I’m seeing a relationship between Charlie’s weight loss and the stock market. Can you gain some weight again, please. My 401(k) is now a 200.5(a).

Tuscanystone said
February 24, 2009 at 6:52 am

Ermm …banana’s?

Perhaps Indian?

I dunno even if you get Indian food in America?


Tusc 🙂

maggieapril said
February 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

I’m with Helen on this one – pizza.

If I were choosing for myself, it would be “Dessert”.

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said
February 24, 2009 at 8:18 am

I’m thinking you’re going to go with either Pizza or “snacks”

Biz said
February 24, 2009 at 8:23 am

Tuscanystone, I can assure you it won’t be Indian food!

I just remember you eating grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and all the peanut butter oozing out – so gross!

I remember the neighbors giving me a JELLY and fluff sandwich – it was awful. I totally forgot about their dobermans too!

Tom Rooney said
February 24, 2009 at 9:16 am

Biz, Jelly and fluff? Now that may be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

I’m with you on this food group Charlie. I thought Denny’s made a decent omelet until I had egg foo young. (do you suppose when its egg foo old, they make it scrambled?)

I think the final food group may be deli stuff.

Meg said
February 24, 2009 at 9:23 am

I love all Asian food…I like Chinese, but Thai is my absolute favorite!

Quix said
February 24, 2009 at 9:24 am

My parents would never give me such decadence, but I remember somehow obtaining the sandwich creations of fluffernutters, peanut butter and chocolate syrup, and what I called a cinnamon sugar sandwich with loads of butter. I refuse to keep peanut butter anywhere in the house because a) it has too many calories and I can’t control myself and b) my fiance is allergic but loves it so it would be torture for him.

Maybe the last food group is breakfast food? =)

lee (getting fit) said
February 24, 2009 at 10:05 am

Seven years ago, I gave up eating at fast food places. At that same time I stopped drinking soda, diet or otherwise. Recently, I came to realize Chinese food is bad news. So no more Chinese food.

I know this is a humor blog and I feel like the giant wet blanket, but have you ever taken a look around you at the Chinese buffet? There’s just too much fat, sodium and sugar in most of what passes for Chinese food anymore. Don’t ya feel kinda bad after eating it too? I know I did.

Next food group: frozen?

Suko said
February 24, 2009 at 10:18 am

Kudos to you,Charlie, for another very humorous post!

How about Armenian food? It’s rich and buttery, and you could have a field day with the exotic, hard to pronounce names like beoregs, cheoregs, and ghadayif.

Kyddryn said
February 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I like Chinese
I like Chinese
I love their tiny little trees
I like Chinese

Mmmm, Mushu (Mooshoo??) pork (no mushrooms), crab angle, egg rolls with hot mustard…cue Homer Simpson gargle.

I am also inordinately fond of Thai cuisine (coconut chicken soup over rice, Rama chicken with peanut sauce)…and dang it, I’m broke, so no takeout for me this month! Sigh.

Lots of Thai dishes have peanut sauce, something akin to thin, spicy peanut butter…in case you needed to know that…

Shade and Sweetwater,

Jess said
February 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

PB & B sandwiches are my favorite food. PB & apple are delicious too.

    Cheryl Kennedy said
    August 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I love Peanut Butter and sweet pickle sandwiches! You can use bread and butter pickles,too! Don’t knock it till you try it! LOL!

Hallie said
February 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Chinese food rocks my world. If I could swim in a lo mein sea, I’d be a happy gal!!


Vicki said
February 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I love pb and marshmallow cream on white bread!!! I also love banana with mayo or pb. But…my weird husband likes his with mayo & pb!! Yuck!
We both love Chinese food. It Is Yummy!

Vicki said
February 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Quix ~ I’ve eaten my share of pb and maple syrup, but never thought to try it with chocolate syrup. I will now though. Mmmmm

Cebca said
February 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

My call is that the fourth food group is either “sandwiches” or “breakfast.”

Mmmmm . . . Breakfast.

nick said
March 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm

chinese food rocks!!!