In “Everything I Never Told You” — the story of a Chinese-American family and the secrets they keep in small-town Ohio — different cultures’ food choices are included within the story, including the following passage about Chinese dumplings:
“You need to eat something,” Louisa says. She steps into the kitchen and returns with a small Tupperware. “Here.” Gently, she pries open the lid and nudges the box toward him. Inside lie three snow-colored buns, tops ruffled like peony heads ready to blossom, revealing a glint of deep tawny red within. The sweet scent of pork wafts up to his nose.
“I made them yesterday,” Louisa says. She pauses. “You know what these are?”
His mother had made these, long ago, in their tiny cinder-colored apartment. She had roasted the pork and crimped the dough and arranged the buns in the bamboo steamer she’d brought all the way from China. His father’s favorite. Char siu bau.
For the Clinton County Reads closing dinner April 12, General Denver chef Jennifer Purkey has developed a delicious meal inspired by the book, which includes a Char Siu Bau appetizer made with vegetables, a main course of Garlic-Ginger Chicken with Chinese Vegetables and Rice, and a cheesecake dessert influenced by the American peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches featured in the book.
Along with the Chinese-American meal at the General Denver, the evening will feature a presentation by Dr. Lawson Wulsin entitled “The Secret Life of Secrets: What We Know and Don’t Know about How They Shape Our Lives.” Wulsin is a professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Cincinnati. He is the director of the family medicine psychiatry residency program at UC and director of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center’s primary care mental health integration program.
His subspecialty is psychosomatic medicine, and his research interests have focused on the relationship between depression and heart disease. In 2007 he published a book titled “Treating the Aching Heart: A Guide to Depression, Stress, and Heart Disease.” He also co-edited “Psychiatry and Heart Disease: The Mind, Brain and Heart,” published in 2012.
The dinner is open to the public, and the $15 per-person cost will include dinner, a beverage, dessert and gratuity. Reservations are required by Friday, April 8. Call 937-383-4141.