Red bean dessert at Chinese Dairy Queens

As good as winter gets: families enjoy an afternoon of skating outdoors with us.

As good as winter gets: families enjoy an afternoon of skating outdoors with us.

Happiness to this Canadian is….skating on smooth ice on a big slough under a clear blue Alberta sky. Even better is sharing the ice with my neighbours and their children. We got a blade on our quad this year and made a big Olympic size speed skating oval north of our place. Our neighbour Iman Koeman started a short track speed skating club at the local hockey rink. There’s been a lot of interest, and several came out on Saturday and Sunday to try out the long track version in the fresh air. Corine brought hot apple cider and hot chocolate – a party!

Happiness to a Chinese…is eating red bean dessert at the Dairy Queen. I learned that at the Zone 3 Alberta Pulse Growers meeting last Friday, November 26. The combination of China and Dairy Queen was a surprise to me – there are many Dairy Queens in China. (I used to dream of the Dairy Queen while living in Switzerland, doubly so in hot Africa!) The other combination: Dairy Queen and red bean dessert seemed equally strange. Not so in China.

     Sheri Strydhorst, executive director with Alberta Pulse Growers at Leduc, Alberta (www.pulse.ab.ca) told us that as the Chinese grow ever more affluent, they are becoming increasingly health conscious. Obesity has more than tripled in the last ten years and the incidence of diabetes doubled. They are looking for ways to make foods healthier. Adding peas or beans is one way to do that.

     Red bean dessert is a traditional Chinese dessert made with bean paste. It’s one way of adding health benefits to the fast food industry.

     There is research being done to put peas into snack foods, bakery goods, baby food and finished meals.

     Sheri was part of an Alberta Pulse Growers trade mission to China in August this year. One comment she made really interested me: “You don’t trade with someone unless you eat and drink with them”. The Chinese need to consider you a friend before they will do business with you. Sheri said that meant eating large amounts of food she would have preferred not to eat…

Doing business with other cultures can mean eating strange dishes, such as Nshima with fish head in Zambia.

Doing business with other cultures can mean eating strange dishes, such as Nshima with fish head in Zambia.

 

     As someone who sometimes does business in Zambia, I know the importance of becoming a friend. Eating their food with them is an vital part of business. In North America we don’t have to be friends with someone to do business – or do we? Don’t we take business partners out for lunch or a round of golf to discuss business too? More and more we are aware of the importance of good relationships for good business. I think we often have more in common with those of other cultures than we sometimes think. Just that the food is often a bit different!

 

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