Tonight’s dinner is brought to you by the frozen food aisle of the store where I work.

The Mystery Store.

Now… it’s no secret where I work and I really like where I work – but I’m a little too outspoken politically to be sharing personal beliefs that could reflect back on my employer – even if I am on the right side of history. I don’t wear uniform shirts or logo’d items in public. No mention here, no mention on social media. None of my social media accounts have my employer listed in any way. It is the place that shall remain nameless online for at least the next 113 days. My retirement could change things a bit, but only in a casual “I picked up some great frozen Asian items for dinner at [fill in the blank] today” sort of way.

To me, it just makes sense to keep the two separate.

As you can see by the photo, I really did pick up some great Asian foods in the frozen aisle. I have found that frozen Chinese food is preferable to the majority of Chinese restaurants I have visited around here.

My problem is I’m spoiled. I grew up with some of the best Chinese food this side of China. Even bad Chinese restaurants in San Francisco are good, and the really good ones are stellar. I’ve had the pleasure of eating Chinese food on the streets – and in a 5 star hotel – in Hong Kong. During Chinese New Year, no less – where they pulled out all the stops. And speaking of hotels… The Empress Room at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge was the place to go before they closed. I’ve been the only European in a Dim Sum restaurant in San Francisco with my Chinese friend telling me she will order – just smile and eat – and then watched incredibly delicious foods come to the table that I know I will never see again in this lifetime.

Yep. Spoiled.

Cooking Chinese food is something I have never mastered. There’s not a lot of reason to cook Chinese in San Francisco when you can pick up the phone and have Andy’s Excellent Chow Mein delivered piping hot in 25 minutes… Or walk down to the corner restaurant and be greeted like family, eat like kings, and waddle home for twenty-five bucks. Or the bakery I lived next door to on 9th & Judah that had fresh baked pork buns three for a dollar.

Have I mentioned spoiled?!?

So… maybe what I need to do is start thinking about learning how to make some reasonably authentic Chinese food… I know that in 113 days I’m going to have some extra time on my hands and the Senior Citizen SEPTA fare into the city is only a buck… I’m comfortable in Asian grocery stores even if I don’t know what half of the stuff is…

I could have another whole cookbook on here by this time next year..,