“Sometimes when Claire passes out of one or another of her cute stages and I get anxious about her getting older, I think of the waiter in London’s Chinatown and grow calm again.

“We’d just come out of a long matinee at the theater, and we were very hungry, and I was three months pregnant. We wandered among the crowded neon joints, then chose a restaurant down an alley, behind the main drag. The restaurant’s sign wasn’t translated into English. We pulled open the oversized red door and stepped inside. It was dark, and there were no customers. We would have turned around and slipped back into the fading day, but already the smiling, bowing waiter was gesturing toward a russet banquette where we should sit. We couldn’t read the menu, and the solicitous waiter could tell. ‘I bring?’ he asked, and we nodded.

“After a few minutes, the waiter brought the first dish. As he set it down steaming on the table, he promised ‘more coming,’ and disappeared. Who knows what it was called, pork and fried scallions in a tangy sauce, unbelievably delicious. He came back after another few minutes, picked up the empty plate, and set down a new dish of something marvelous, promising again ‘more coming.’ I think he was concerned that we’d fill up before we’d sampled all the piquant riches he could ferry from the kitchen doorway, masked by prodigious greenery.

“As he removed each empty plate, I felt a pang thinking I’d never know what the dish was called or perhaps ever eat it again—but suddenly there would be an intriguing new dish in front of me, bathing my face in steam. No worry, he told us. More coming. More coming” (73-74).

Beth Ann Fennelly, from Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother