I apologize for the long hiatus between blogs, I was on vacation and my creativity and daily brain functionality was limited to choosing what pair of shoes to wear (out of a choice of three), contemplating contemporary art, secretly mocking Mao, enjoying moped rides through the city, drinking wine and other assorted fermented beverages, singing karaoke, meandering through hutongs, eating pancakes, hiding from baoans, and jumping around at rock concerts.
Consequentially I didn’t have much time nor mental energy (nor motivation for that matter) to keep up with my daily blog writing. But as of 4:40 am this morning (the time my train pulled in) I am back in Shenzhen and intend to get back into my daily routine, which of course includes not making my mom worry by not writing blogs, calling, or sending emails.
So after that long preamble, here is a blog update to let you know that I am still alive, and furthermore, that I am impressively skilled and resourceful (but I’m sure you knew that already).
I say this because while in Beijing, I successfully cooked a Guyanese-Indian meal in a Chinese kitchen, without a tawa, a rolling pin, several key ingredients, and an overall dearth of basic kitchen necessities, such as paper towels, oven burners (only two), and sharp knives. However, we did have quite a surplus of cutting boards, which made up for everything.
Anyway, with Andy as my assistant chef, I cooked roti, pumpkin and chicken curry. The curry was, in my opinion, mediocre as I was missing two ingredients that I simply could not find here in China, turmeric and garam masala. However, it was still on the appetizing side. The pumpkin turned out better than expected, and even tasted exactly like it should! (Except I didn’t have the same type of hot pepper). This was surprising because there are no butternut squashes in China, and I simply picked up the only pumpkin I could find. But now I kind of think all pumpkins taste the same. Maybe that’s not true, but this pumpkin was a dead on substitute taste-wise.
The roti proved the hardest to make because 1) I didn’t have baking powder and 2) I didn’t have a rolling pin! But thanks to ingenuity, dexterity, and just plain mad skill, I was able to use a tea cup to roll out my roti. As you can expect, it took longer than expected, but I taught Andy how to cook the roti, and we established the fail-proof teaming system of roti roller and roti cooker.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food, and my one Korean friend exclaimed “I’m so amazed that someone my own age can cook so well!” Well that would be a rather nice compliment except she didn’t even know how to do her own laundry till last year. But anyway, they still liked it. Flour-covered me with my roti and rolling pin.
The only thing was that I was incredibly insulted when my guests didn’t think that I had cooked the roti. They thought I had simply bought it on the street (Muslim Chinese make a flat bread called nang which vaguely resembles naan or roti, but only vaguely and only because it is flat and a bread). I quickly set them straight and they were doubly impressed. Especially when rolled by teacup. Now I need to start honing my death by teacup skills.