Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rice is Nice

Many years ago, the Balabusta was eating lunch in Chinatown with some friends from high school, when one of her old high school friends-of-a-friend asked why she always ordered vegetarian. It interested him, you see, because for most of my Chinese high school buddies, being a vegetarian was something for old people, who had gotten to an age to be serious Buddhists. It seemed odd for a twenty-something.

So I explained kashrut, and because he was interested we kept talking, and eventually we got to Pesach. At first, my friend seemed to think it wasn't such a big deal. "So you can't have bread for a week?" he asked. "OK, so just cook things to eat with rice."

I had to explain, and his tolerance was at an end. "Chinese people couldn't do that," he explained simply, shaking his head. "It wouldn't work."

I suppose Chinese Jews never had to face the kitniyot thing, anyway, since I think the Chinese community was originally Persian, and would have followed that minhag.


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