day of week

Chinese Soup

18 June 2003

My family went out to dinner to celebrate my and my dad’s birthday. My dad’s birthday is actually today. And mine is in a couple of weeks. Anyway, they served this special herbal soup for the entree which caused my sister and I to cringe. We were horrified.

You see, my mum is Cantonese. And all Cantonese mothers make soup. Duck soup. Chicken soup. Pig feet soup. Ox tail soup. Sheep brain soup. Goat testicle soup. Herbal soup with sticks, berries and twigs that look like caterpillars and cigar butts.

Every month, she would make us a particular type of soup, which was apparently good for our menstrual cycles. So my sister and I dubbed it the “period soup”.

It was SOOOO disgusting. Imagine drinking dirty compost water, with rotten fungus and god knows what else. It was foul.

For years we tried to make the experience less painful. We’d dilute it with hot water. Or sip it very slowly with a straw. Or hold our breaths and see who could skull it the fastest. Or drink it too hot so we’d scald our taste buds. But now that we’re older… we just drink it silently and quickly. Like the good daughters we are.

So Christine and I look across the table at each other and wrinkled our noses.
“Is this period soup?”
“It smells like it.”
“It’s got those red seeds.”
“You taste it first.”
“It’s not supposed to have chicken feet in it…”

All the while, Andrew (being the squeamish Scottish lad that he is) overheard us, peered into his bowl and stirred it slowly. He spoke slowly and carefully, “Did you girls just say PERIOD SOUP????”

^ Callum wondering where all the food went.