Western-Style Chef

What a surprise, smack dab in the middle of a Chinese vacation, we get a new Western-style chef at our canteen. We met him today. He is very young and quite eager to please all of our weird & crazy western culinary palates. Today there were hamburgers, tuna & vegetable salad and yesterday we had pork sandwiches & pasta with tomato sauce. It was all really good. I heard that for breakfast there were even  pancakes, bacon and ham. (Too bad I am not much of an early-riser, although  I may have to give it a try one of these mornings.) I wonder if the Chinese kitchen workers think that the only food Westerners like to eat is hamburgers.

I was trying to think of typical Western meals so I could make some menu suggestions. Seemed most of my favorite items were borrowed from some other culture – shwarma, falafel & hummous from the Arabs, stews from the Persians, Pasta from the Italians, Schnitzel from the Austrians, a billion delicious things from the Spanish, not to mention the Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Carribean & Indian food I ate everyday in Toronto. How do you explain to a Chinese cook that what I like to eat is…global food! (The Western meals are of noticeably better quality than the Chinese in our canteen, so we are fully expecting the students to start moving to our line soon. They are also more expensive.)

The good news is that the company is trying to listen to our complaints and do something for us, rather than ingnore, which is what was happening earlier in the history of the company. Many of the first flight instructors here have left because either their contracts were complete or because they really didn’t like it. I wonder what sort of person takes a job in China but still expects everything to be like back home. How could anyone think that way? I suppose people who have never really travelled or experienced a third-world country would have a hard time here. Honestly, DH and I expected it all to be much, much worse than it is. Sure, there are frustrations, (I don’t think anyone likes it that their bathroom reeks of an open sewer from time to time, or that efficiency doesn’t really seem to be in the Chinese vocabulary, or that the pollution is sometimes so bad you can part it with a wave of your hand,) BUT overall we can’t complain, or at least I can’t. I really do have a dream job and not too much to stress over. Life is good, the people are interesting and as cliche and corny as it sounds, we really are watching history happen before us.


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