Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dim Sum

  One of my best memories from when I was just a wee little lad (other than being a "husky" lad and not actually little) was when my aunt Tamar would take me out on Sundays to dim sum in Falls Church. Now, if you have never been to dim sum here is how it works. You get seated at a table like you would anytime you go to a Chinese restaurant (I always remember the tables being round, but that may just be my own strange twist on the memory) and hot tea was placed at the table for your main beverage. Pushing carts around the restaurant were the servers. On these carts were small dishes containing one type of item such as dumplings, or egg rolls, et cetera. The cart would make it's way through the place and when it approached your table and the server told you what that particular cart had on it you could ask for a plate or pass and they would move onto the next table with another cart offering a different menu item would arrive shortly afterwards and the process would continue. What I remember liking the most about dim sum is that you could try a whole bunch of different items, and the portions were small so you didn't fill up on only one or two items leaving you wishing that you had more room to try the other selections. Of course, let's face it, I was a pudgy little guy with ample stomach space that rivaled your grandparents attic in the amount of things I could store in it.
  Now, I am sure that you are reading this wondering why in the hell I am talking about a memory of Chinese food experiences from 2 and a half decades ago. Well:

  A: I just mentioned several times that I was a fatty, thus food has many places in my memories.
  B: I thought that the experience was the neatest thing ever when I was young (buffet style restaurants were not yet a staple in American culture since this was pre-obesity epidemic)
  C: I enjoyed the outings with Tamar, and Chinese food has always been a big favorite of mine.
  E: I have just come to the conclusion recently that MS is the dim sum of disease...

   Ok, now your mind is trying to figure out how I can relate this wonderfully erratic disease with this amazing type of cultural primitive buffet style culinary experience. Of course, if you have never had dim sum, you might actually be trying to google a local place that you can go to in order to have your own awesome dim sum so that you can judge for yourself whether or not I had a great experience related to you through words and my early childhood memory, or whether or not I just really like food and think about it way too much in my adult life.
   Dim sum allows a person to experience different dishes in relatively small doses, meaning that you are more willing to try foods that you would normally not order off of a conventional menu because you don't want to commit to a entire dish that you might not enjoy and thus you order the same thing 
the you ordered last time that you liked and you hope that someone else orders something that you can take a bite or two of to see if you like it and then next time you might just order that instead of the beef and broccoli that you get everytime. As any medical professional who is familiar with MS will tell you, MS is considered a designer disease in the way that every person who has MS has different symptoms at different times. Since most forms of MS have periods of partial if not total  remittal of symptoms before another symptom appears, this disease that I have come be afflicted with and poke fun at reminded me of these enjoyable childhood experiences where I would go out and  consume dim sum with my aunt. 
  Personally, I never wanted to be in a wheel chair. However, as a kid I had a friend who was confined to a wheel chair and I once did a weekend experiment to see what it must be like to be wheel chair bound. With my dim sum disease one of the dishes that was served to me was a small plate of wheel chair. Not wanting to be rude to my host Mr MS, I graciously took a bite of wheel chair, and on those days where my legs just don't want to cooperate and I look like Bambi trying to walk across the frozen lake, I have to enjoy my serving of wheel chair with a smile on my face to not appear rude to my host. Let me tell you now, it may seem like a good time being in a chair with 4 wheels and rolling around (and if you are a little sadistic like me; rolling over) things instead of
walking all over the place, it isn't. First off, you will become very upset with the person you contracted to lay carpet in your home because you can now feel EVERY imperfection in the carpet and if you had some good speed going when you encountered an unexpected carpeted speed bump, you get a very up close look at that "perfect" carpet that your spouse most likely forced you to accept
in the house because you have now pulled a Mighty Mouse and flown out of your chair through the  air with one arm in front of you as if you are posing for your action hero trading card before you land face first on the carpet and get a chance to examine it up close for any further imperfections.  Now, if 
you have children, then most likely the speed you were traveling at was caused by one or all of them. Before you get too upset at them for turning you into a four wheeled cripple missile, just remember back to the days when you were teaching them how to ride a bike. "I promise I won't let go honey,  daddy/mommy is right here with you!" What did you do after they started peddling and gaining some speed? You let go! This is just them getting a little revenge, take no permenent offense to it. If they 
were not the cause of your speed prior to your impromptu floor stretching exercises, try your best to 
laugh with them since by this time the are about to join you on the floor with how hard I am sure they will be laughing. 
  Another dish that might be served to you as it was to me, is numbness. This one can be fun and potentially profitable to you if you let it be. My numbness started as a small dim sum dish and turned into a serving place sized dish shortly afterwards. I went numb from the shoulder blade all the way down the left side of my body with the spread stopping right in the middle of my body (belly button and butt crack if you need distinguishing land marks to figure out how to split a body down the middle. Now, carry with you some toothpics or lobster forks. I also recommend small band aids. When you are out in a social gathering and the imbibing of alcohol is occurring, bet one of your slightly inebriated friends that you can put a certain number (you decide how based on the surface area of the numbness, the intoxication level of your friend, your own intoxication level, and the monetary amount of the bet) of toothpicks or lobster forks into your skin as if you were being stabbed with them. Again, use the calculation I provided above for maximum income potential and minimal person injury. If you need to, consult a calculater and perhaps some graphing paper to work out the mathematical equation prior to confirming the wager. 
  My favorite dish has been speech problems. This is a dish that the MS dim sum tray may circle around with offering a few different varieties of this particular entree. Sometimes you may just get a plate with an assortment for you to try. For instance, my plate had sporadic word recognition difficulty. Sporadic loss of train of thought in the middle of a conversation to the point that you do not even remember the last words that you spoke before it occurred. My personal favorite, the ability to speak in cursive. Now that last one is a fairly constant one for me. I speak in cursive many times most of the day, and sometimes it is extremely noticeable and other times it is somewhat subtle. Right now you are trying to figure out what "speaking in cursive" is and sounds like. Well, if you want to be an ass about it, it is slurring your words. There are times that this dish will make you sound like you just left an awesome "kegger" and the mere fact that you are still vertical is a miracle!

  Basically what I am getting at is that to me, MS is a dim sum meal with some really horrible menu items, and because you don't want to offend your host, you are going to take a plate of each item that is offered whether you like it or not, and the fact is you won't like most of the items. But, if you are willing to have a little bit of fun with this dim sum presentations to you, I promise that they won't seem so bad, won't last as long, and you will gain a positive experience looking back upon it. This simple thing to remember is that it is still YOUR life and you have to do with it as you please. But, try starting it with some humor.

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