During the Korean War, when everyone was hungry, he told me, Koreans would take garbage and boil it to make a kind of stew. Of course that seems disgusting, he said. But it was better than going hungry. Despite being a physician, he happily ate foods tipping into rancidity. He drank sour milk. He reheated coffee. He once bought some Sheba Tender Terrine with Turkey and Chicken dinners, impressed by their cheapness, and would not be dissuaded from finishing his supply when we informed him with horror that it was cat food. Once, during a vacation, we forgot to refrigerate the doggie bag from dinner, and it sat in the warm hotel room overnight. Someone’s move to place the funky bag in the garbage the next morning set off my father’s immigrant mentality inner-motion detector. He wouldn’t listen to our pleading — we were sure he’d be dead of ptomaine poisoning by noon — as he ingested the entire contents of the carton. Annoyed, he chided us kids for our snobbish tastes, called us wasteful.
I can only imagine what he would have had to say about a presidential candidate so heedless he eats only the top off a muffin. No matter how loyal a Republican, my father would likely have declared Mr. Romney a very silly, profligate man — not the kind of man to be trusted with his precious tax money. Perhaps his vote would have gone to a Democrat for the first time ever. Politico has declared the Asian-American vote “key for both parties.” Will muffin-top-gate cause other immigrant parents to join their Democratic-leaning children?