Asian Fusion



by cheri block sabraw

Funny people are hard to come by.

With over 5000 former students in my mental Rolodex, only three types of kids come to mind: brilliant ones, defiant ones, and funny ones.

One of the funniest students I have instructed is Albert Guh. We met when he was a little 7th grader and reconnected later when he had grown into a big junior in high school.

I always think of Albert this time of year when the wild turkeys come for Thanksgiving.

Albert was the first person I know to turn a nationality into a verb.

Most of my students are either Chinese, Korean, or East Indian. Before every Thanksgiving holiday, I ask them about their holiday plans. Invariably the discussion leads to the food.

Does your mom cook a turkey?

Yes, Mrs. Sabraw, she does, but being a Chinese mother, she Chinese-a-sizes everything we eat, Albert said, waiting for the reaction.

How does  she do this to the turkey? I ask.

Well if we have turkey, she adds Chinese spices and some noodles. My mom is from Taiwan and everything American that she cooks, she Chinese-a-sizes. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, you name it. She puts soy sauce in hamburgers and stir-fry on the pizza. Albert liked my reaction.

My East Indian students found Albert’s story their own.

Oh yes, my mom does the same thing, commented Divya. She puts curry in the stuffing.

Yummmm, I said.


Today, I came home with my 31-pound turkey that I hope will feed the 27 people who will come to our house for Thanksgiving.

As I drove in, other turkeys had arrived in their ironic time frame.

Up on the hill, an Asian Fusion occurred.

As I snapped the picture above, their feathery fans turned to stunning onyx Chinese fans, lined with gold and I thought of Albert Guh.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, People and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Asian Fusion

  1. andreaskluth says:

    27 people!

    That will be either heaven or hell, depending on the people and your attitude.

  2. Cheri says:

    Isn’t everything about attitude?

  3. Foreign Toe says:

    So, this Thanksgiving thing is the Owl and the Pussycat’s nuptials. I can tell people over here what it’s all about now.

    Just who are the losers? Over here, turkeys don’t come to us at Christmas. We go out and make victims of them. It teaches them how to behave.

    What I like about 27 is that it’s three cubed. A three-dimensional menage a trois. Should be a great party.

    • Cheri says:

      Funny you would say a three-dimensional menage a trois. That is the name of the red wine I bought for the party, a blend of three grapes called Menage a Trois!

      We ate turkey and also scared the wild turkeys off the property!

      Happy Turkey Day.

  4. Foreign Toe says:


  5. Richard Manchester says:

    Toe is so crude.

    “The problem of synchronicity has puzzled me for some time, ever since the middle twenties… What I found were “coincidences” which were connected so meaningfully that their “chance concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure…”

    [ From “Synchronicity: an Acausal Connecting Principle” – CG Jung]

  6. Mr. Crotchety says:

    I prepared for Thanksgiving in my usual way – I went to the liquor store. I was accompanied by two children, each approximately ten years old and slightly out of control. As we entered the store I said, “alright. Enough. You’re in public now. Don’t be stupid.” We walked in and one of the sarcastic little angels whispered, “shhh, don’t talk about health-care reform.”

    Now that, was funny.

  7. Cheri says:

    We had lots of conversation about health care reform during our annual Turkey Shoot. This tradition, started my my father years ago (after he shot a New Mexican jackrabbit from 75 yards), is a target competition held on our property.

    Food: pastries, casseroles, cinnamon rolls
    Drink : Bloody Mary’s, the recipe of which is a family secret, orange juice, coffee
    Weapon: 38 caliber pistols with the exception of my mother’s Texas six shooter.

    People in attendance: One judge, one radiologist,
    two nurses, two lawyers (gag…), one dentist, one graphic designer, three bankers, one teacher:), one salesman, lots of 20 somethings who think they know it all, and several delightful little people.

    The radiologist and dentist had much to say to the lawyers…
    More on Judge Blah’s Thanksgiving present later.

  8. Richard Manchester says:

    Now that was funny.
    According to my friend, Mr Crotchety.
    Toe is heeled, Cheri, never to return to school.

  9. Richard Manchester says:

    I think I’ve got 20 across… Judge Blah’s present… mmm… Is there more than one Albert Guh?

  10. Richard Manchester says:

    …… mmmmmm…… six letters………………………Got it!

  11. Chourou says:

    How good! I wish I could join the nice party as the 28th! We, here in the Far East, don’t celebrate thanksgiving, and turkey is not common for our dish. But I’d say we are great chiken eaters, and here you can enjoy Kara-age , or deep fried chiken instead, which is flavored ginger sauce, rice wine and soy-sauce, with a thin coating of flour.

  12. Chourou says:

    Oh,I guess you are so full to have turkey that much including the leftovers re-heated. Well, I bet you’ll end up becoming a great fan of Kara-age after just a bite. Why don’t you come here oversea to appriciate it with your all family someday!

  13. Jeffrey Wong says:

    Hi Mrs. Sabraw, Interesting post. I think about you from time-to-time when I am complimented by colleagues about my writing, when I get a compliment at a party about having interesting ideas, or when I throw out a non-sequiteur and someone gives me a puzzled look. That is a lesson that sticks out in my mind.

    I think “Sinicize” is a smoother term. It refers to how elements of Chinese culture were spread to Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. It also refers to assimilating ethnic groups within China, either by choice or force.

    I didn’t know you had turkeys in your neighborhood or did target shooting at home. I do recall your husband confronted some dangerous animals though.

    I myself was hoping to take a wild turkey this year, but the hunter’s course is still on my todo list.

    • Jeffrey Wong says:

      Incidentally, I looked you up after reading an article on “how to read mathematics.” It mentioned how similar reading skills for fiction and non-fiction are used by professionals when reading math in papers and books. So I thought about where those came from…

      • Cheri says:

        Oh wow. I have several readers of this blog who are deeply involved in mathematics. Maybe, one of them will read this comment and join in the discussion.

        Why were you reading that article?

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Jeff!

      Wonderful to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to comment on your ol teacher’s blog.

      I agree: your term, Sinicize is much better and all encompassing. Yes, we engage in target shooting on Thanksgiving morning here on the Rancho, known as the Turkey Shoot. Ironically, about ten years after the activity began, real turkeys arrived and then more and then more. Now they are the new deer. I really don’t like them anymore because they make a big mess and ruin some of my potted plants.

      I visited your blog. Looks as if you are a very busy person.

      • Jeffrey Wong says:

        Wow. Deer and turkey? Perhaps I can help you or your neighbors with these animals. It would be nice to do some hunting without having to drive very far.

        Found the math reading article because I was writing some code, wasn’t happy with it, and thought I should learn some more elegant yet esoteric techniques (functional programming). Books and papers on the topic use a lot of mathematical notation. I was never good at reading math except in theoretical computer science where the concepts were more important than actual computation.

        In the past, I would have just been frustrated and personalized the problems. I helped a few foreign grad students struggle to understand dense academic prose that sometimes reads like philosophy. Going to an American university and actually paying attention helps you with reading.

        I realized that skills for reading different types of material can be taken for granted. So I looked for advice on reading math and reflected more generally on my reading abilities in general, which brought me here.

        Nice blog, glad to have found it.

  14. Cheri says:

    Very interesting, the concept of dense academic prose that sometimes reads like philosophy.

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