I had a patient a few years ago, an elderly man, who watched me very carefully each time I came into his room to do nursey stuff. I was changing his dressing one day and noticed that he was looking at me intently. Finally he spoke, “How long have you been in this country?”
“Umm…my whole life,” I responded. “I was born here.”
“Where?” he challenged.
“South Carolina,” I answered, wondering where the conversation was going.
He continued to scrutinize me, then asked, “Well, when did your parents immigrate from China?”
I almost burst out into uncontrolled laughter, but reigned myself in at the last second. “My parents aren’t Chinese and neither am I. I’m Caucasian. My dad was a white man from Michigan and my mom is also white and she is from South Carolina.”
The man clearly doubted me. “Well, you look Chinese,” he countered.
I hurried and left his room because the laughter was about to burst out of me. The following day, I had the same man as a patient again. I went into his room and bid him a cheerful “hello”. While I was hanging an antibiotic, I could see that he was intently looking at me again. “Here it comes,” I thought. To my surprise he didn’t say anything, just continued to stare at me as I dispensed his medications.
I handed him his cup of medications and he took the pills, keeping his eyes on my face, calculating. As he swallowed the last of his pills he looked at me and finally spoke. “How’s the economic situation in Mexico?”
There is a distinct possibility that I may have snorted as I worked to keep from laughing out loud. “To tell you the truth,” I responded, “I don’t really follow Mexican economics. I’m a white girl from America and it’s all I can do to keep up with American economics. My mom is white, my dad is white, my ancestors were from Europe, and I’m pretty sure that all of them were white.”
My patient stared at me more intently than ever. “Well, you look Mexican,” he stated.
I gave up at that point. There wasn’t going to be any way to convince this man that I was just a plain ol’ white gal. To him, I suppose, brown hair + brown eyes = not Caucasion.
Okay, so with all of that in mind, let’s get things all mixed up in the kitchen. Let’s take a standard Chinese cooking technique, apply it to some typical stir fry ingredients, but change the flavor profile to reflect a Hispanic influence. Oh, and let’s have a Caucasion chic cook it all up.
If you want to take a shortcut (a.k.a. emergency substitution) a packet of taco seasoning can replace the spices in this stir fry. However, my best advice is to make the effort to use the spices listed. They taste so good together!
After the meat is removed from the wok, there will be a mixture of cooking juices, spices, and some oil remaining in the bottom. Leave these in the wok. Add a little more oil if necessary to cook the vegetables.