I was invited to return to teach for a second time in the graphic design program at Ludong University in Yantai, Shandong Province, China this past May (scroll down for a description of my first visit). Instead of three classes in two weeks, I was able to work a bit more in depth by teaching two courses in three weeks. It was a sheer delight to reconvene with the faculty and school leadership, who have become good friends.
Though I have been told southern China has a much more varied and challenging menu, I had my first “sea rabbit” (on Chang Dao, or “Long Island” above). Back on the mainland I had pig’s head and, completely by coincidence, my first duck’s head later that same day. That was The Day of The Head. I was struck by how removed we Americans tend to be from the source of our protein: it is cut into pieces that are presented on foam plastic trays under plastic wrap in beautifully-lit supermarkets. That it ever came from any living creature is thoroughly disguised. It is a quite different eating experience when the creature’s eye is staring at you in situ. But there is nothing to be done but dig in – and both times I went for the cheek meat, which is approximately as far away from any namable face part as possible. The pig’s head was delicious. But you may be assured that eating duck’s head properly is a much more active process than merely picking at its comparatively-tiny cheek. We’ll leave it at that.