It's been a while since I last had cabbage. I just brought some home, and suddenly it made me think of my friend's "boyfriend vs. cabbage" theory.
This theory relates to the term "left-over girl," which means a girl who is left and unwanted. The premise is like this: every woman, once she reaches a certain age, has to marry. The longer she goes without marrying, the more she is driven to find a quick match through "set-up dating," a "fast food" style of dating just for the sake of finding a marriage partner—pretty much the way pigs are sold at a country fair. If no result comes from such set-ups, she is deemed a "left-over girl."
There is a saying in China: 男大当婚, 女大当嫁, meaning everyone should marry once they're old enough. The entire society works to make sure everybody follows this rule, considering those who don't abnormal. My friend's theory is actually an analogy for this problem using cabbage.
First, the person society considers normal thinks: 1. Everybody has to eat cabbage. 2. Once cabbage is on the market, everybody should strive to get one (see point 1). 3. When the big and fresh cabbages are sold out, people should still buy the ones that are left, even if they are not so appealing (again, see point 1).
On the other hand, the abnormal person thinks: 1. Not everybody needs to eat cabbage. 2. If I am going to eat cabbage, it must be fresh. If there is no fresh cabbage, I won't eat cabbage.
According to the above, both my girlfriend and I are classified as abnormal. Actually, in my opinion, the "left-over girl" concept reflects the twisted logic of a male-dominated society, in effect calling all the unobtainable grapes sour. There is no saying such as "left-over boy"; boys will never be left over, because even when they are not at all attractive, they will be surrounded by a bunch of young pretties trying to avoid becoming "left-over girls."
Eh, enough of my babbling—dinner is served. And I assure you, this is the freshest cabbage of all, haha!
Yields one serving
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Chinese vinegar
1 Tbsp corn starch
200 mL water
1 small cabbage, shredded
1. Mix the salt, sugar, vinegar, corn starch, and water. Set aside.
2. Put the oil in a pan, heat slightly, add cabbage, and stir-fry for 3 mins.
3. Lower the heat to medium, add the other ingredients, and continue cooking for 5 mins. Done!
Sichuanese native and Chengdu resident Annie blogs about her adventures in cooking vegetarian meals, adapting recipes from around the world. Recently she has translated some of her favorite posts into English for GoChengdoo readers to enjoy. The original, Chinese-language version of this post can be viewed here. Photo by Annie Chen.
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