Monday, January 26, 2009

back to culinary roots

This photo reminds me of how cute bunnies are. Especially when they are munching on greens. It's from a food blog I stumbled upon today, writings of a smart, 27-year-old, Asian-American woman fast on her way to a culinary career. I dig her personal musings and also her about page- having recently subscribed to The World's Healthiest Foods newsletter, I have been reading about cruciferous vegetables and their amazing health benefits (see Cabbage). For more than a year now I have secretly lamented that even though I am 100% Chinese and grew up eating Chinese cuisine 95% of the time, I can't make any of the Chinese dishes that I love. A 5 year hiatus of college introduced me to a mostly American, Tex-Mex, Thai and basic Italian diet. And on top of that, I have never really experienced a strong desire to cook and experiment.

It helps that I have B around; he loves cooking and eats more Asian food than I do, using dashi in our noodle bowl broths, praising the tastiness of thousand-year-old eggs, and often suggesting dim sum for after-church luncheons. My appreciation for his openness towards food grows each time I encounter white Americans who are either ignorant of, wary of or disgusted by certain ethnic cuisine. Heck, even I'm picky about certain Chinese foods (like anise, the aforementioned thousand-year-old eggs, pigs blood, some kinds of tripe, to name a few). And I have always been acutely aware of void between the instructions of Chinese immigrants who cook (like my parents) and authentic recipes in English of the dishes they make. Of course I should've assumed that by now the latter exist, thanks to the Internet, and today discovered a couple of well-written food blogs that bridge the culinary gap for 2nd generation Chinese-Americans (or rather, Americans who are Chinese by blood), it is a good time to return to Chinese cooking.

Oh, and happy Chinese New Year! I should mention that eating nian gao, low boh gao, jiu liang tang yuan, and various other dishes in our exceptionally tasty family dinner this weekend (and lunch the next day at Jengchi Bakery, best green onion pancakes) also contributed to this rethinking of what I cook and eat.

Last note, I know it has been 2009 for a while, but recapping all the helpful and kind comments I receive from Flickr members who graciously comment on my halfway-there photos, I resolve to focus more on the quality and not quantity of my consumption. Meaning, I will think about what I have to say, and why, and be specific about my comments on others' art especially. And practice using proper capitalization again; sentences for sure, phrases maybe. A hundred "nice shots" and "prettys" do not amount to one thoughtful and personalized reflection. Somehow this slowing down will also reflect in other areas of my life.

Currently listening to Small Sur. It is introspective, stripped-down, nature-inspired folk music with soft male/female vocals. I wouldn't be opposed to making such music with B and company. Try: Second Chances, Small Stones.


erin said...

i have always had a secret yearning to cook more (at all). the idea of it seems so fun, plus there is something to be said for eating a really good meal, especially one that you make yourself. i am picky and lazy though. strangely enough i am branching out little by little, but it's more likely it will be something completely foreign vs. a harmless tomato.

and i second your flickr comment. i always hate it though when i'm like #1,000 in the comments. what else can i say that hasn't been said. ah, what a nice problem for those photographers to have, to receive duplicate feedback because the dictionary ran out of words for awesome.

why are my comments so friggin long.

Fern said...

Erin, thanks for all your THOUGHTFUL comments! Don't censure yourself, that's silly. I'm the wordy one, with all these long posts, hah.

It is really rewarding when you make and eat a good home-cooked meal. Cooking is daunting to me, but you just go one recipe at a time. And then one day you will be an experienced cook, I think. I encourage you to go for it!

Yea, I wish I had a larger descriptor vocab specifically for photography. How does one expand his/her wordbank?