This is a moon cake.
I teach piano to a 76 year-old Vietnamese man.
Today he gave me a moon cake. And he told me to eat it with my mom.
I've got to be honest, I really do not know the significance of the moon cake. And, since the wrapper is totally written in Vietnamese, except for "moon cake", I can't even find out.
I do know that on August 15th, Vietnam has a Fall Festival, and it is an almost universal holiday to celebrate the past successful harvesting season. People chip-in offerings, and families gather together to celebrate. I just learned this from Vietnam Online. :)
So I'm guessing that his gift of moon cake is a celebration of Fall festival. But really the amazing thing in this story is that he is still excited to learn. We have a lesson every week, and he almost never misses. Except last week, because he was in the hospital. HOSPITAL!
But, this week we were back at it, counting out rhythms, and learning new musical terms like triplet.
I can only hope that I am as dedicated to something, and determined to excel at it when I am 76.
UPDATE: My roommate from college just posted on my Facebook page about the moon cake. She is an English teacher living in China now, but she did live and work in Vietnam for 8 years. She says:
"I just peeked at your blog and saw the part about the mooncake. Yummy lard. :) I'm not so fond of the preserved egg in the middle, but I like the lotus paste. The legend is that a mortal woman offended the gods by desecrating a banyan tree. It grew up around her, pushing her up to the moon and leaving her there as punishment. Children light lanterns every mid-autumn festival to light her way home."
Thanks Kim for the firsthand knowledge and cultural information. It makes that lard taste so much better! :)