Recipe for Lover #4

Dorothy Chan

When my friend, F, reads my palms, I’m alarmed

          when he tells me that I’ll have five great loves

in my life, if the five lines underneath my left

          pinky are any indication, and I think, well,

That’s one lover too many, and I can’t handle

          this Justice League of my hands, and which one

ends up being my Wonder Woman, the winner

          of it all, the MVP lassoing me towards him —

how Hunk of the Year becomes Hunk of a Lifetime,

          if mangeants are still a thing, and just imagine abs

spray tanned across the runway, because you’ve got

          to admit that there’s something about a man who can

master his runway walk, sashaying away, butt cheeks

          exposed, taking that crown home to me, donning

an apron and cooking me some ramen, add in egg

          and corn and seaweed, and in this landscape

of the couple’s palace of tomorrow, I worry

          about the state of my current lover, the way

my hands fit so perfectly on his broad shoulders,

          down onto his back, the way I worry this won’t

be forever, because as F says, and we all know,

          it usually doesn’t work out, the way I wonder

if I could ever love a man who hates tofu,

          unless it’s extra firm and burnt to the crisp,

which makes no sense at all, because isn’t hating tofu

          like hating bread or rice or cheese or wine or fried

anything, and am I even still a Chinese woman

          if my partner hates tofu, and in bed, I think

about all the recipes we’d be missing out on,

          going out for burgers instead — tasty but standard.

But what about my mother’s Cantonese tofu

          and tomatoes dish from my childhood:

                                        Brown the tofu on both sides.

                                        Take two or three fresh tomatoes,

                                        and add in oil and water. Cook

                                        for 10-15 minutes for a boil down,


                                        then the secret ingredient: a dollop

                                        of ketchup. Mix cornstarch with water,

                                        mix it well. Then add in soy sauce

                                        in the pan, some green onion on top.

Oh, how I loved waking up to my mother

          cooking this dish, at eight, and at dinner I’d add

tomatoes atop rice. Now, in bed, my lover

          describes how he can’t handle the texture

of tofu, the way he doesn’t want that kind

          of party in his mouth, and I know he’d take

that mangeant trophy home, do almost anything

          for me — so why can’t he just process the soy.


about the author