Today I tried to make spring rolls. When I went to Korea to visit my parent the other week, my mom had made spring rolls and they were delicious. She laid out the vegetables and meats on a large plate so beautifully she urged my sister to take a picture of it to add to her Instagram story. Oh, I just put together some leftover vegetables and bought some fish sauce and chili sauce to dip the rolls in, she casually said. It’s very easy.
So when I saw the Vietnamese rice wraps at the Korean market last week, I felt inspired to purchase them and try my hand at making some spring rolls. With some extra chicken I had, I marinated it with Vietnamese flavors the other day and they were ready to be cooked. I had promised the kids to take them to the library, so I didn’t have much time. I just sauteed the chicken (which turned out kind of amazing) and a couple vegetables (I know, they should be raw but we try not to eat raw vegetables because you know, we’re all about Chinese medicine and raw vegetables are too cold for your stomach). The rice wraps were huge, so I had to go get the stool to pull out this glass pie dish we had kept from a pie place in Western Addition. Even that was too small for the wraps.
Olive and I were both pretty excited about constructing the spring rolls. She found a way to wet the wrap so that it didn’t get crumpled up like wet toilet paper, the way mine did at first attempt. She carefully rotated the wrap until it was completely soaked with water. We put in the fillings and then shoved them into our mouths.
Mm, this is good, Olive cried out after her first bite. Mommy, you like to try new things.
Thank you, I beamed. Thank you for the nice compliment.
What’s a compliment, she asked.
It’s when you say something nice about someone.
Then our bites kind of slowed down.
Mommy, do we have any leftover udon I can have?
Why? You don’t like the spring roll? I glanced at her half eaten roll.
It’s the wrap, isn’t it, I asked.
Yeah, she emphatically said. I kind of don’t really like it because it’s kind of too . . .
Chewy and rubbery, I nodded.
No, it’s like too sweet.
Oh, I said. Huh, well- you don’t have to eat it. I have some udon soup left from the other night; I can make you some fresh noodles.
Yeah, Mommy’s the best! Wait, you’re going to MAKE the noodles?
Yeah! Ohhh I’m not making making them; I’m just going to boil them.
So Olive ended up having udon, Obi emphatically shook his head when I held up his almost finished roll to his mouth, and I tried to enjoy my last roll that looked and tasted nothing like my mom’s. But I did learn how to make a new marinade for chicken, so see? There’s always a silver lining and second chances.