When I was about ten or eleven, my dad would pick me up from school every day after work, with his old-fashioned black bicycle, and we would head to our community farmer’s market for our daily grocery shopping. From the backseat, I would watch him breaking an ear of corn into two pieces to check the moisture of the core (to determine its freshness), and I’d laugh at him for blowing on the butt of a chicken (to check whether the hen was young or old). Food was always our topic on the way home. He would explain to me, the valuable experiences he inherited from my grandparents – things like chicken with small anus are tender and moist because they haven’t laid many eggs yet; or watermelons with broader lines are less watery. Most of the time those explanations were fascinating and believable, but once in a while I would be confused: why are eggs with grey shells more nutritious than the pink ones? Why always choose tenderloin over thigh meat? He didn’t like those questions – challenging a parent’s authority in China is not encouraged, even today. “There’s no why,” he would say. “Everybody does it this way, and it works. Isn’t that enough?” So then I would shut up.