Back then, yodeling "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms” was fun but slimy pui saag with rice was gross. My grandmother would cook that horrible, mucus-ey stuff with a vengeance every time we visited her during the summer. My Dad harbored some ill-begotten notions about the curative and cooling powers of pui and this wrecked havoc on our sensitive palates every summer. Besides, the name itself was repulsive. Repeat it in a whiny tone and voila! you have a new term of abuse. The only other vegetable that incited such passion in our household was the ubiquitous patol.
So after all these years, it was strange to find oneself excited at the sight of a plastic wrapped bunch of greens in the vegetable aisle. The label said red shen-choy but the Boy and I nodded at each other and went "pui". Yikes!!!. But now that we are all grown up and mature we decided to act our age and bring the offending shrub of greenery home, where it was sauteed with ground up mustard, ginger and green chillies. It tasted good, even the Boy agreed. But is red shen-choy really Chinese for pui...now that my dear friends is the million dollar question. You see, I just don't remember how the vile slush from my childhood nightmares tasted. But its good to know that I don’t hate it anymore. And on my next trip home I might even ask for some, which as my Mom will tell you is quite a rarity.
PS: Most Bengalis might know what pui and patol are. I believe patol is called parwal in Hindi but that's about it. I have no clue what they are called in English.