Friday, December 10, 2010

I could have figured that out on my own.


I love recipes and I love trying new foods. is my favorite go-to. I also have a few cook books that I use as a resource. I have learned to accept that, for the most part, recipes use fresh ingredients with the occasional can or jar or packet of something. Cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom, chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa, enchilada sauce, powdered ranch dressing, onion soup mix, bullion cubes, canned artichoke or olives--I am willing to accept these as ingredients in a recipe.

I do, however, have a problem with some ingredients. For example, I wanted to make sweet and sour chicken the other day. The recipe called for chicken (check), bell peppers (check), onions (check), pineapple (must have, check), and sweet and sour sauce.

How is that a recipe???

That tells me nothing I didn't already know!

Today, I looked in a cook book and saw a shrimp alfredo with the ingredient "Alfredo sauce." If I had a jar of alfredo sauce, I definitely wouldn't need to look up a recipe to tell me to add shrimp and noodles!

Chinese stir fry recipe--add "stir fry sauce." I don't think even Chinese people know what that is!

Steak marinade recipe--add so-and-so's marinade or so-and-so's meat seasoning rub. This is not a recipe, it is an advertisement. And, if I had the marinade, I can pretty much assume that I'm supposed to marinate the meat in it, making your recipe pointless!

My Thanksgiving turkey gravy recipe called for packets of turkey gravy.

It's sad when the title of your recipe is also the ingredient.

What is your current pet peeve?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ancient Chinese Wive's Proverbs

My mom came to my house with some broth. She warned, "Don't eat this if you are having your period."

The fact that the broth was black and gritty and had large chunks of either root or meat (I only guessed meat after I saw what looked like bones, but that could have been a different kind of root) was probably enough to keep me from eating it, but that warning made me wonder if it was even safe to have in my house.

So, while I sat down eating my ovary-healing broth, I thought of all the other tokens of love and jewels of wisdom I have been given throughout the years from well-meaning Asian women:

--Sesame oil chicken will help your body heal after giving birth.

--Boiled peanuts will help your milk come in faster (which would explain the rapid rate of growth in my really fat babies).

--If a child pushes a loose tooth with his tongue, his teeth will grow in crooked.

--Don't eat cold foods when you are pregnant or you will do harm to the fetus. (I think the 40 gallons of ice-cream I ate while pregnant is enough to disprove that one.)

--A child must wiggle his tooth a lot or else a tooth will grow out of the top of his head (this one was said in all seriousness)

--A mole under the eye means that person will cry a lot (this one is true only if being whiny is the same as crying a lot).

--If a child crawls or walks under your legs, it will keep him from growing.

--A large forehead and large back to one's head is auspicious. If you have a child with these features, you should take him to go buy lottery tickets because he is lucky (Looks like one of my boys and I should go hit the tracks! I should bring my husband for extra luck!)

--Eating too many lychees (Asian Fruit) will give you bloody noses (Tell that to the pound of lychees I ate every other day on my mission in Asia).

--Eating too many lychees will make you fat (Tell that to the 25 pounds I gained on my mission in Asia).

--Ginger and garlic is good for your ovaries (which explained the ginger-garlic-onions-and-carrots-on-rice meal she prepared for us, but I felt kind of bad for her son who had to eat it too).

--A woman after giving birth should not leave the house or go outside for a month. And, they should not bathe during that month. And, they should stay with their mother-in-law.

After I drank the last dregs of my broth, I realized something. Each of these women that told me these things had only the best of intentions for me and my children. Each one of these women loved me. It is not in the Asian culture to express love with words, but i cant help but feel the love when someone cooks something specifically for me (and my reproductive organs) in mind. So, I eat the black broth, and the ovary healing roots on rice, and the postnatal sesame oil chicken, and the lactation inducing boiled peanut soup, and the menstrual cycle chicken and herbs because that is my way of showing these women that I love them and appreciate them.

And I'll eat the lychees, because they are good.