My grandpa (who we called Gonge-gonge) was very tall for a Chinese man, over 6 feet tall and movie-star handsome, to boot! He had a wonderful, good-natured charm and a hilarious sense of humour. I remembered him as pretty quiet, always happy and putting Ketchup on absolutely everything he ate. Every year for Christmas I would try and buy him the most ridiculous gift possible, such as a toilet paper roll holder that tinkled out a tinny version of “Greensleeves” every time you reached for a few sheets. When we were kids we got to go for nice dinners at the golf club in which my grandfather belonged. Crisp iceberg lettuce salad bar with croutons, glasses of soda and endless baskets of buttery, parsley-speckled garlic bread, our favourite. For dinner, sometimes it was prime rib with a perfect puff of Yorkshire pudding, and for dessert – the coveted creme de menthe ice cream parfait! Layers of bright green minty syrup and vanilla ice cream, a crisp-thin triangle wafer cookie tucked into a top layer of whipped cream, then topped with a shiny maraschino cherry.
We had our friend Marc over for dinner last week – I made a butternut squash and roasted cauliflower Rogan Josh curry served with cold plain yogurt and toasted salty cashews. For dessert, the three of us shared a leftover chocolate cake parfait topped with a fresh raspberry. While it wasn’t quite prime rib buffet at the golf club in 1987, it did quite nicely, and reminded me of my beloved Gonge-gonge.