Learned a few more fascinating things about my step-dad. He was in China during the Cultural Revolution (!), and with his education, was shunned as an enemy of the state. He was accused of being an intellectual and a capitalist sympathizer. His mother, another scientist, was accused of being a capitalist and exiled to the countryside. Lots of fascinating and jaw-dropping stories from that time. Now I need to read up on that time period. I wasn't very interested in it before--finding ancient Chinese history and mythology much more to my taste--but some of the happenings from that time are stranger than fantasy.
My folks and fosteronfilm and I had dinner at Fung's Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant in Roswell [920 Woodstock Road Suite 200, Roswell, GA 30075, (770) 643-1161]. It's a Buddhist vegan place where they sculpt and create meat simulations out of tofu and wheat gluten. It was delicious! I had their Seafood Delight. The only meat dishes I still have occasional pangs of longing for is seafood. The fish tasted exactly like I remember fish being like. The shrimp was a little less accurate, but it was still very yummy. My mom had a faux chicken dish, and fosteronfilm had their faux roast duck. I had a taste of both their dishes, and the chef got the texture and taste of both chicken and duck down really well. I also picked up some free Buddhism literature as we were leaving--not just skinny pamphlets but full books--to add to my research pile. For local folks, I highly recommend Fung's if you're in the area. Their food is exquisite, and the environment is quiet and soothing. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a website.
I did end up getting a bit melancholy by the conclusion of the evening. I kept thinking about how I really wish I'd grown up with my step-dad as my father figure, rather than my largely absent biological dad and all the conflict and ugliness of his and my mom's relationship. My step-dad is such a good influence on my mom. He's an incredibly intelligent man with a kindly disposition and an easy sense of humor. And he and I have so much in common. He has a real interest and passion for the old Chinese folktales and myths, and he's really supportive of my interest in them. Despite working in a library and being a huge proponent of literacy and education, my mom never shared my interest in fantasy and science fiction. What would my childhood have been like with him as a mitigating influence on the friction between my mother and myself, I wonder?