I ate chicken feet (okay, a chicken foot) in my own apartment. Chicken feet are on my list of things I’d rather not eat because of their rubbery texture. And they are just hard to eat if, like me, you don’t really know how. And yet, sometimes I have to eat things I would never choose on my own. Usually it doesn’t happen in my own apartment.
I had a “Snacks and Games” gathering for a bunch of (Chinese) friends. It was an open invitation to a rather large group, and 13 people came over. I made some food: crockpot meatballs, veggies and (homemade) ranch dip, roasted sweet potatoes, banana bread, and orange chocolate cake. And then almost everyone brought some sort of food because that’s the polite thing to do. So we also had watermelon, bananas, oranges, Chinese baked goods, boiled peanuts, and chicken feet. The person who brought the chicken feet was rather excited about them and really enjoys them. Although some other people pointed out to her that foreigners don’t usually eat such things, she mentioned it several times, so I I felt like I had to try one. So I did. And the flavor was good, even though I still don’t like the texture and really find them hard to eat (and using two hands like they suggested didn’t really help). Thankfully, they all got eaten because if I had been left with any leftovers, I don’t know what I would have done. Instead, I just have to figure out what to do with two giant bunches of bananas. I’m honestly not sure I have enough freezer space for all of them, and if I do I have the bananas for banana bread for months and months to come. The ranch dip, sweet potatoes, cake, and banana bread were all hits (although none of them are prepared anything like traditional Chinese foods).
I set up the food as a buffet, both because that’s what Americans usually do for this type of informal gathering, and I don’t have table space for so many people. I explained that you have to load up your plate with food and then go sit down, but there was still a lot of congregating by the buffet, taking one or two things at a time, eating them standing up, and then going for more. This reflects the Chinese eating style of sitting around the food and only taking a little into your bowl at a time. We all ate and enjoyed each other’s company, and that was the important thing.
Then we moved on to the games portion of the evening. I got new games for my birthday (some recently delivered) and am quite happy with my collection. We had so many people that I thought we could have a couple of groups playing different games, but it turned out that we played one game and everyone else watched. I think generally people were okay with that, but if I could think up a better way to include more people, I’d try it next time.
The game we played in Forbidden Island, a cooperative game. The players have to work together to capture treasure and escape the island before it sinks. It is the most complicated of the games I own, and I don’t have the Chinese to explain the rules. But between Chinese and English we figured it out. My friends really had fun playing it, even though they lost the game. I suspect that now they know how it goes, they will be a little more strategic the next time around.
I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a couple of months, so I’m glad it worked out and was successful. I’m looking forward to hosting again sometime soon!