technical difficulties

I've gotten some reports that the survey is having issues. Crashing, not working, &c. I'm sorry I don't know how to fix this. Maybe too many enthusiastic Times readers are trying to fill it out at once? If it's not working for you, please, pretty please, come back later & try again. Thank you. I am humbled by the awesome power of one little paragraph in the Dining section!

“Chinese Eyes”

It's been a while since I posted any "earliest memory" survey replies. Here is an excerpt from James, self-described Honky:

My parents and I went on vacation to San Francisco where we went to my first Chinese restaurant. I was about 6 or 7 years old (so it must have been 1960 or so) and I loved going out with my folks to restaurants and having fancy meals and this was the fanciest yet. I remember it being a dark room with accenting table lighting and white table cloths and black suited waiters. I think the decor was a lot of black and red. There were chop sticks, but none of us had a clue as to how to use them. When we got back home I was determined to master them.

After the meal we went back to the hotel and in the middle of the night my eyelids swelled up so tightly that I could barely see out of them. We assumed it was an allergic reaction to the "strange" food we had eaten at the Chinese restaurant. The irony of the connection between eating Chinese food and getting "Chinese Eyes" did not escape me. It became a running joke in my family for years to come.

Remarkably, my eyes still swell up from time to time and for years I couldn't figure out what was doing it. I've only recently (after 40 some years) figured out that it was from the preservative many restaurants use on raw shellfish that was doing it. In fact, it was never the Chinese food at all but a crab cocktail I'd had on Fisherman's Wharf earlier that day.

Always the scapegoat! This little memory is really packed w/ all kindsa, uh, deep stuff, wouldn't you say?

Chinese restaurant survey

I've gotten about 100 replies to the survey so far, & people are beginning to forward it to more people now, so another round of responses is trickling in. I am full of reactions & ideas but I don't want to skew the survey results by saying anything too soon, so I have to restrain myself! I'm such a latent academic that way. Well, not really.