28 Mar / Happy One-Year Book Birthday!
Woohoo! Farm to Table Asian Secrets turns one today, March 28! I can’t believe it’s already been a year!
To celebrate, I’ll be throwing a coming-of-age party for my book baby.
In China, and many Asian countries, a baby’s first birthday is a major milestone. High infant mortality rates were common in the past, so if a baby made it through its first year, it has passed one of life’s biggest hurdles.
Like the Chinese proverb says, 万事起头难 (wànshì qǐtóu nán)–the first step in a thousand different matters is always difficult.
For human babies, the coming-of-age birthday calls for a celebratory feast. The bright, colorful menu includes everything from stir-fried carrots and tomatoes to auspicious ingredients like shrimp and whole chicken. Eggs, which represent roundness, are also important because they symbolize the wish that the child have a harmonious and happy life. But the most important dish is chang shou mian, or long-life noodles. A Northern Chinese tradition, noodles must be eaten on every birthday, and must be slurped uncut.
After feasting, the zhua zhou, or birthday grab, begins. A tradition dating back to the dynasties, the birthday child is placed in front of a set of various objects and allowed to choose freely without any guidance from adults.
According to superstition, the selected object(s) predicts the child’s future career or inclinations. A stethoscope for a medical career, a calculator for a career in the sciences, a pencil for the literary arts, etc.
Foods also indicate certain characteristics. A stalk of celery implies the child will be hard-working, or “qin lao.” Green onions represent intelligence and an orange ensures the child will have good fortune.
My cookbook hasn’t had a difficult first year of life. However, a book’s first year is also important because that’s usually when it makes the most impact, i.e. makes the most sales! So in the same vein, I’ll be having a coming-of-age party with an Instagram giveaway and a festive menu with recipes old and new right here on picklesandtea.org.
Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m giving away:
The Pho Cookbook—Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen (P/S The Pho Cookbook also celebrated its one year book-birthday in February!)
1 (500ml) bottle Red Boat Fish Sauce
Deadline: Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 11:59 p.m. PST (Only U.S. addresses please)
All you have to do is:
… and voila, you’ll be entered into the raffle!
I will announce results on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Check back tomorrow for my festive menu!