My husband did not eat Chinese food until he was 24 years old. At lunch with a client, and unsure as to what to order, he safely chose beef and broccoli. He now asks for the Chinese only menu where available, the one that warns "may require acquired taste". His children had Chinese food before 24 months; we discovered early on that tofu and vegetables was a certain hit when calling for delivery. And now they nibble off his plate, acquiring this taste at an early age.
We don't have a backyard, nor do we have a front yard, and we live with people both upstairs and down. But we have ethnic neighborhoods and with that, celebrations that take us far beyond the Chicago city limits. Sunday was the New Year parade in Chinatown, and for the first time that I can remember, not painfully cold, so we stood amongst the crowds watching the dragons dance by, sans fireworks this year, a blessing for our hearing sensitive Kate. In and out of stores to stay warm, we came home with a new wok, a creme cake roll from the Chinese bakery and some snappy red "Chinese dancing slipper shoes".
We have a park at the end of our street and we can tolerate the noise from upstairs but we can't give up the opportunity to escape to China or India or Vietnam any day of the week. And when we are so cold, so tired of the snow and the ice, we bundle up and head to the Pilsen for Mexican food and mariachis and just, for a few hours, a warmth that makes even February in Chicago livable.