Mary’s email arrived this afternoon–“Isn’t there sometime we can get together this week and have supper at Mr. Wu’s?”
“Yes! You tell me when,” I responded.
And so this evening I met friends Bill and Mary at Mr. Wu’s for a delightful summer supper. We had a lot to catch up on–children and gardens and guild and travels and of course, animals and critters–after all, Bill is a retired veterinarian and a great student of wildlife (including human behavior).
We began with a bowl of Mr. Wu’s “Bowl of Complexity”–otherwise known as Hot and Sour Soup. The name “Hot and Sour” does this magnificent brew no justice, as the bowl contains myriad flavors that blend and mingle on the tongue. I’ve yet to meet anyone EVER who has not exclaimed that Mr. Wu’s hot and sour soup is the best they have ever had. Ever. Of course a photo would have been a nice thing, but I got so excited, I slurped it all down and did not think of taking a picture until I was gazing forlornly into the empty bowl. Mr. Wu makes his own stock–the soup is truly a gourmet treat.
Mary had two requests–green beans and fish. I always kid her about the way she asks Mr. Wu to “choose something” while at the same time giving him a grocery list of ingredients. When she announced that she did not tell Mr. Wu what to make–this time Mr. Wu laughed and said, “Right, she let me choose the sauce!”
SO tonight Mary had sea bass in Peking Sauce with green beans and brown rice. It was a beautiful dish– the dark, spicy sauce with the delicate white fish and colorful green beans was simply stunning. And delicious. I know. Mary let me taste it.
Bill, well, Bill ordered the Hunan Shrimp. As always, no surprise. Or so we thought. But Mr. Wu had a surprise for Bill–he had carved a witty little snail from a radish! It was so cleverly made– it was carved from an upside down radish so that the snail’s little feelers were created from the root-end that had been split. It was awesome!
I had a very hard time deciding what to order–that is the problem with having tasted so many of Mr. Wu’s dishes. It complicates things to know there are so many different dishes I am crazy about. I finally settled upon his Singapore Noodles, because they are a wonderful bright color with festive bits of veggies and shrimp and bits of pork strewn like confetti through the dish–and because the rice noodles have such a fun texture.
After the meal Mr. Wu brought a small plate of sliced oranges and fortune cookies. It was a sweet ending to the meal, but our most satisfying dessert was found in the companionship and the stories that we shared.
The hen turkey that returns each year to Bill and Mary’s house in the country to raise her brood–four little ones last year, and nine this year. The way roads in Kansas run due east and due west along property lines–while roads directed north and south bend and veer according to the earth’s longitudinal curves. A son’s new love and his satisfying new job. Re-cycling recipes with a new twist and what size tables to use for an upcoming party. Armadillos who dig holes, pet raccoons gone wild and parakeets who learn to talk and the ones who never do (that would be Little Buddy).
Our summer supper chez Mr. Wu was perfect in every way. It was an evening well spent. As I walked to the car with my sack of purple (yes!) tomatoes that Bill picked in his garden this morning, I felt relaxed and cheerful.
And very thankful. For summer suppers. And friends like Bill and Mary and Mr. Wu.