Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More on Tiger Mothers and Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I don't think we're done hearing about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. (Click to hear about it on NPR.) At least I know I'm not done thinking about Tiger Mothers. Last week, most of the buzz focused on Amy Chua's methods for forcing success, but then I found this article that gets personal. Did you know that Chinese kids, in addition to making superior music at young ages, are also kicking our collective booties at math? I was pretty certain they were kicking mind, but my kids too? It kind of makes you wonder. I'm not sure if I should make the kids stand on hot coals and recite algebraic formulas while practicing Bach concertos on their violins, or if I should just let them take the day off to roller skate and eat hot fudge sundaes. What is best? Again, it's probably somewhere right down the middle. (Minus the hot coals, of course.) In my self-evaluation I've learned a few things.
Here is how I'm like a Tiger Mother.
My kids practice their violin for one hour on school days and sometimes more if they are getting ready for a performance. They also practice piano 1/2 hour daily.
School work is a firmly mandated affair. Even though I homeschool, I am demanding and regimented about schoolwork.
There are no sleepovers with friends.
I sometimes yell. I'd rather use a pleasant euphemism like "raise my voice," but the truth is I sometimes yell.
Here is how I am not like a Tiger Mother.
I accompany them on the piano while they play their violin. I tell them what a good job they are doing, not to tease them into greater heights of achievement, but mostly because I honestly believe they are doing very good work. I teach them piano and for the most part I am doing a very mediocre job.
Sometimes we take trips on schooldays. Sometimes we bring our homework on airplanes and sometimes we don't. I don't worry about it when we travel. Sometimes when we have family visiting from out of town, we only do a half day of school.
We have sleepover with cousins.
I don't yell very often, but even once is too much. But here's what make me very Western: I feel terrible afterwards. Do Tiger Mothers experience guilt? Because I sure do. Doggone it kids, make sure you listen the first time.
How are you like and unlike a Tiger Mother? Leave me a confessional comment. I won't judge.

All of this Chinese mothering has made me very hungry for Chinese food. Do you think there has been a run on Chinese take-out with all of this Chinese mothering buzz? I bet. Here's a recipe that introduces big Asian flavors to Western convenience: Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Chicken is slow simmered in the crockpot in ginger, garlic, and soy until it is fall-apart tender. The chicken is then spooned into crisp lettuce leaves with brown rice, carrots, cilantro and chili garlic sauce. It's cheap and easy and delicious and my family loves it for dinner. At least this Western mother is getting one thing right.Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for 4 servings
1 pound boneless chicken
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (Available in Asian Foods section)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
For Serving:
lettuce leaves (I like red leaf)
cooked brown rice
thinly sliced carrots or radishes
chopped cilantro
sliced green onions
Place chicken, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, and ginger in the crock pot. Cook chicken on high for 3-4 hours or on low for six hours. Shred with a fork and serve in lettuce leaves with rice, carrots, cilantro, onions and chili garlic sauce.

19 comments:

The Japanese Redneck said...

I think you are a very luving and supportive Mom.

The wraps look very good.

Cilantro said...

I have never made these wraps at home although i have ordered them at restaurants and I love these at PF Changs.
Slow cooking sounds interesting and may be I will try them soon.

Tracy said...

I'm sure you're a great Mom! I've never had good luck with boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot -- they seem to get dry. Maybe I'm cooking them too long.

Prudy said...

Tracy,
Try cooking them with plenty of liquid. You can thicken the liquid later if there is too much, but at least you know your meat will be juicy! Good luck.

Leslie said...

I'm afraid I am a very strict Tiger Mother to myself and a very soft Western Mother to my children.
Tiger Mother makes me rise at the crack of dawn, vacuum the entire house, sweep and mop the kitchen floor, take out the trash, wipe down all the kitchen counters and appliances with Pine Sol, clean the microwave and refrigerator because you can't start the day with crumbs in the microwave or cloudy refrigerator shelves and start the laundry all before 8:00 am.
When the laundry is washed, dried, folded, ironed, and put away, then and only then do I get a coffee break and am allowed to read the newspaper.
Isn't she fun? She's had me on this schedule for 25 years!
All right, I am looking forward to reading this book. I'm pretty certain I already disagree with her, but it will be an interesting read.
Your dinner looked delicious, by the way. My kids would love it. I bet my inner Tiger Mother would make me have it ready by breakfast!

NY2UT said...

Did you mean to cook the chicken on low for six hours and on high for 3-4 hours and not the reverse as stated?

Prudy said...

NY2UT-I always do that! Doh. I'll fix it now.

Katie and Mark said...

I'm probably pretty Western. Although, I'm sure I'm more tiger when I lose my temper. :-/ (New Year Resolution)

As for the chicken wraps, these are my FAVORITE from a few different Asian food places. They cost me $7.04 when I order them To-Go at Pei-Wei! Maybe now, I can just make them myself. :)

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Catherine said...

I can't decide what kind of mother I am. It depends on when you catch me. Sometimes I want to give in to their every whim and fancy and spend my days doing whatever they want. Other days . . . well I'm not so nice. I wish it was easier to decide what to be and also to just be it. Oh well.

Your lettuce wraps look delicious and I wish I started them in my crock pot hours ago.

Christine M said...

For more on the Tiger Mothers controversy, there's an interesting op-ed at nytimes.com called "Amy Chua is a Wimp". Obviously a provocative title, but he makes an interesting point about how it's often harder and more valuable for your kids to learn to negotiate social situations than it is to do math problems over and over.

Prudy said...

OOh, thanks Christine M. I'm off to read it!

Luke and Mariah said...

Oh I'm so excited to make this, and the broccoli turned out amazing! My fav broc recipe to date! And just FYI in the latest Oprah magazine she has an interview with Amy Chua. Pretty interesting. Hope you and your fam are great!

Emily said...

Well, I'm not a mother yet, so I can't really answer. If I had to guess I think I would be the mom who lets the kids take the day off and eat ice cream. I think it would be hard for me to be strict with them. But then again it's necessary, I suppose.

I love lettuce wraps! I love crock pots! I think I need to make these soon.

Adrienne said...

My grandmother also woke at the crack of dawn every day. She was legendary for always having perfect hair. We calculate she spent at least 50 grand on her hair in her lifetime at salons. I guess we all have our little idolatries.

My husband is the perfect combination of high standards and a forgiving nature. The kids have no fear of making a mistake but he never lets them give up.

We do about 4 hours of school and music with my oldest who is 6. She is compliant by nature and it's easy to pat myself on the back when she "performs". But compliant children are almost more difficult than defiant because you can easily step across the line of unrighteous dominion and they won't put up a fuss. Ruling someone else is always an illusion. And it's easier than respecting their freedom. So I guess in that way, dictatorial parents are wimps.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read much about this Tiger Mother business, but I have been seeing talk of it everywhere. My husband and I wondered why at every music school the students are all Asian. Our son has been the only "Western" boy at two different places we have gone. It's just interesting.
You are right about parenting being somewhere in the middle. It also depends on the child and the parent. What I think you are most right about is the guilt thing. With so much information, and so many options about parenting, we get analysis paralysis. My opinion: It comes down to love. That's the answer. Unfortunately, I'm not there, so I can't give the how- to's. But here are my confessions:
Tiger:
-My three and four year old have to do chores and schoolwork before TV(well DVD's because we don't have TV) or computer time.
-We will not be doing sleepovers (except with cousins).
-Our four year old has to practice the piano for 15 min./day

Western:
-The kids get bonus stickers and bonus chocolate chips throughout the day.
-We are known to spend a good amount of time being silly and dancing to loud music (not always classical) :)

Here is a piece of advice I really liked: Stop trying to be a perfect parent, no one knows what that really is. Just don't be a bad parent. Then there was a small list of do not's. I'll send you those if you want. :)
Also, straight from the Gospel Principles manual:
"Parents should treat their children with love and respect, being firm but kind to them."
Parents can provide an atmosphere of reverence and respect in the home if they teach and guide their children with love. Parents should also provide happy experiences for their children.

Krista Cook said...

That last comment was from me. I didn't mean to be anonymous. :)

Shelley said...

Prudy, A double batch of these are in my crock pot right now, they smell soooo yummy! I am chopping up all the veggies, and taking 1/2 the batch to my dear friend's house for their dinner tonight - she just had knee surgery yesterday. The great thing about your recipes is that I know they will be delicious, and I have no apprehension whatsoever making a new recipe for people outside the family on the first try! You continue to amaze me, and I am thankful for you and your inspirations, both in the kitchen and out!

Utah Sushi Roll said...

This looks so good for a number of reasons. I'm always looking for something I can put in the crock-pot for Sunday afternoons, but the usual recipes are roast type dishes. Nice to have an Asian inspired dish. My wife and I love the lettuce wraps at Pei Wei and this sounds just like them.

Thanks,

Utah Sushi Roll