Thursday, April 11, 2013

Food Issues

Lotus Root
Valerie asked me to write more about food and what I eat. Tonight for dinner, I will have ground pork in lotus root with er liang mi fan (0.1 kg of rice) and a side of broccoli with garlic and too much oil. I will get the battery to my camera replaced and then do some videos and more colorful pictures. It has been pineapple season for quite some time now, but when I fried up some chunks with rice for lunch with Deborah, my girlfriend, she was surprised that it tasted good. Yet, I gleaned this idea from visiting Chinese restaurants at home!

People here eat out a lot, at least among the foreign contingent. There is less variety of international cuisine, but a greater variety of Chinese cuisines. Last night for dinner, we shared a half jin (0.25 kg) of a leggy frog in a hot pot with leafy greens, potatoes, mushrooms and black fungus. It was yummy. Deborah insisted on adding meat (lamb, in this instance), because "you cannot have hotpot with out meat. It is strange." That said, I have gained a lot of weight since coming to China. I thought, at first, it was wheat so I gave that up again, but it has made little difference. Maybe because I eat much more meat (and not grass-fed!) than I did in America.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Woman Who Is Always Cooking

In a different iteration of my life, I would have expected to see a woodpecker when I opened my blinds, but the rat-a-tat-tat of a large knife was the cause of this mornings very perceptible sound. I knew already what the cause was: The sound of women chopping the stuffing for dumplings is the music of early mornings in Northeast China. What surprised me, though, was that this sound was coming from far away. I look out from my fourth floor apartment across the roof of a three-story building at the balconies of several apartments. I have named  the woman in one of these apartments: the Woman Who Is Always Cooking. She is not there at this moment, which is aberrant; however, on most mornings and afternoons when I look across she is cooking something or throwing her trash out the window--a medieval habit that I detest.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Beautiful Hereafter

Chinese embrace eco-burials

BEIJING - Chinese traditionally believe that souls may rest in peace only if their bodies properly buried underground in coffins. But today, many are becoming open to other options, like scattering ashes in the sea or inlaying funeral urns in walls.

Ahead of this year's Tomb-Sweeping Day, a holiday that falls on April 4, a citizen surnamed Huang in East China's city of Nanjing went to a cemetery to commemorate her deceased father by burning paper in front of an osmanthus tree, the same tree under which his ashes were buried.

Tomb-Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, calls for surviving relatives to tend to the graves of their loved ones by leaving food and liquor at their burial sites, as well as by burning fake money as a form of offering.