July 10, 1989
A Little Pork is Born
November 30, 1989
A Little Piggy is Born
Love at first dumpling
(Ok, not really)
It was their 2nd year at University of California, Irvine (UCI) and both were living in student housing at VDC Norte. Since first year dorm food was gone, Benson was learning to survive on his own, really cooking for himself for the first time.
He was learning how to make Asian food like kimchi fried rice and tofu soup. One day he planned to make dumplings and he had everything lined up from the recipe… except for two eggs. He was short just two eggs and had class in a few hours.
“Ok, I’ll see if my neighbors have some,” he thought. He never met the neighbors just across the hall from him.
He knocked. No answer. He knocked again. Nothing.
He knew that one of his classmates from his writing class lived next door, so that was the next logical option.
He approached the door and knocked. He could hear some shuffling inside. Then silence. He knocked again. Footsteps. The door opened. And there she was.
Kristy stood there with a surprised expression, wondering who this stranger was standing in front of her.
“Umm, hi. I know Rachel who lives here. And uhh… This is going to sound a bit weird. But, do you have two eggs I can borrow?” Benson awkwardly explained.
With a bit of relief at the innocuous request, Kristy went to the fridge and handed over two eggs.
“Thanks! I’m trying to make dumplings from scratch. And I’m missing two eggs.” Benson remarked.
After Benson took the eggs and left, Kristy couldn’t help but think how weird the encounter was and why eggs were needed for dumplings. But little did Benson know, that he would be making Kristy’s #1 favorite food—boiled dumplings.
With the eggs in hand, Benson finished the dumplings, cooked them and prepared six for the neighbors as gratitude for the eggs. He also worked on preparing a sauce, throwing together items on the fly: vinegar, gochujang, sugar, and some other items—a mixture he hoped would work well together. With the plate assembled, he dropped off the dumplings before heading off to class.
Kristy and her roommates all tried the offering and were most impressed with the sauce. This was to his surprise and dismay as Benson was pleased to hear they enjoyed the dumplings but lamented that he had no idea how to reproduce the sauce they enjoyed so much.
Returning later that day to pick up the plate, Benson offered to cook crepes for Kristy and her roommates the next day. After all, he was learning how to cook and wanted guests to feed. He would continue to come over and cook more dishes for his newly acquainted neighbors.
Over the course of the year, Benson would get to know his new neighbors better. He discovered Kristy was in the same major and were in many of the same classes. And over time, they became better friends.
August 25, 2009
It wasn’t until over a year later did Benson and Kristy officially start dating. Benson asked the question to make it official by sewing a stuffed piggy (because Kristy’s last name is Chu which sounds like “pig” in Chinese… and yes, making stuffed animals is a not-so-secret thing Benson does…).
Once they were together, they would go on all sorts of adventures. From Taiwan to Japan, from SoCal to NorCal, Benson and Kristy shared an incredible time together, eating their way through the world…