All Consuming – Tomatoes and Eggs
October 21, 2010
I keep meaning to take pictures for these, but I always forget whenever I make them, and by the time I remember it is usually eaten, or just doesn’t look very appetizing. I guess that is the unfortunate curse of perishables. I’ll try and remember for the next one.
I’ve met a lot of Chinese people in my life. It is one of the perks of being Chinese. There are a lot of us and we tend to gravitate towards the same places and do the same kind of things. One of these things is apparently the ability to make a Chinese dishes called “Tomatoes and Eggs.” I don’t know if there’s a formal name for it, but that’s what I’ve called it my whole life (in Chinese of course).
The recipe for the dish is pretty simple:
Mix together and cook for 10-20 minutes.
Really nothing remarkable. But literally every Chinese person I have ever met knows how to make some variation of this dish. What’s really interesting though is that despite its popularity, I have never seen this dish for sale in a restaurant of any sort, nor have I seen anyone make it when we’re invited over for dinner. I think it’s just so common and simple that people are embarrassed to make it for other people.
As a result, I think it ends up being one of those dishes that just gets passed on from generation to generation within the family. This in turn produces some interesting variations in the recipe between families. I’ve known some people who like to add sugar or scallions or MSG. The amount of soy sauce is super variable. Sometimes it’s made super dark, or very light. It could be a dry dish, or cooked until it’s almost a sauce.
Things like this is why I find family recipes really fascinating. It’s almost like it has got its own genetics that mutate and propagate as it gets passed from generation to generation. I think the modern age has kind of killed a bit of that. With widespread books and the internet, a lot of recipes are becoming pretty homogeneous. So sad.