Every Sunday for the past 8 weeks, we’ve been presenting a course called “Language a la Carte”. It was my idea, and so far it’s going rather well. The students get to choose from a “menu” that includes a variety of topics each week. During the final hour, we have “Afternoon Tea”. Anyone who wants can join in an open conversation about anything.
This past week, to mark the end of the 8-week trial period, we had “Afternoon Wine”. And, thanks to Mom (Thanks, Mom!), I was able to provide a little bit of authentic Wisconsin cheese to go along with it.
One thing that took me a little while to learn is that, in China, “wine” means “alcohol”. So… beer (pi jiu) is “spleen wine” (I have no clue why). Wine (from grapes) is “red wine”. “White wine” means spirits (rice vodka, basically). Grape wine is a western thing.
So I took the opportunity to buy 3 bottles of wine. A dry red, a rose, and a sweet white. They tried them all and got a taste for the different kinds, the difference between a red and a white, between dry, semi-sweet, and sweet. The women definitely preferred the sweet white wine.
The cheese… I had 4 kinds. Monterey Jack (bought in Shanghai), 2-year Cheddar, some sour cheese (I don’t know the name) and a stinky goat cheese (again, don’t remember the name). the last 3 were bought at a farmer’s market in Wisconsin. Usually, Chinese people hate cheese–especially sharp cheese. The typical reaction to an aged cheddar is a scrunched up face and an asking if they can spit it out.
Oddly, most of the women actually liked the cheese. They even liked the very strong, very stinky goat cheese. I think a lot of it has to do with where they’re from. Locals prefer sweet food, while others from the north or west tend to like stronger-tasting foods.
Anyway. A good time was had by all. And many ladies went home drunk and happy that day. Mission accomplished!