Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Return of the Cook

After a long a lazy vacation, coming back to the blog seems to be a wake-up call that pulls me back into reality. The blog site is blocked in China, so for two months I had no access to my lovely blog. Don't ask me why it's blocked, probably for the same reason that Facebook and Youtube are blocked and the same reason that diabetic patients should be completely shunned from sugar. But it's good to be back, it's always good to be back, no matter where I am. I have grown so used to having two lives in two countries that moving from one to the other doesn't cause me any discomfort at all; in fact, I don't even feel the difference any more. The countries have blended so well in my head like an all-berry smoothie that there's no way for me to tell exactly how many berries there are any more.

Before I bring out today's plat du jour, I do have one confession to make and hope that my advisor doesn't see this, or if he does, would forgive me nonetheless. I finished perhaps only three books this entire summer: one from the Hunger Games trilogy and two Chinese collections of proses: none of which were on the reading list that we had discussed before. Although I did get started on a collection of short stories by Ha Jin, which was interesting and very educational. I now have tons of questions about the very little English reading I have done, and they keep piling up as I'm catching up now with some Garcia Marquez.

One thing I did get from having two cultures coexist in my head is a combination of two flavors in writing and in cooking, which I greatly appreciate.

Last night's return to the American kitchen dinner was a big failure according to Chinese standard, but according to American standard it was perhaps only different, and according to my endearing boyfriend Chris's taste, it was pretty good. Oh what can I say, someone who thinks eating fried fish with its head and tail is weird should not be considered a valid judge for food, haha.

It may give the impression of purely Chinese stir-fry, but true Chinese would tell you they normally don't stir-fry potatoes with red bell peppers, and they would not recognize that zucchini in the left plate. All in all, it was a culturally merging dinner, mixing the Americna ingredients and Chinese cooking style together. The failure was that I had lost some touch with the flavoring and the spices. It seemed that Chinese dishes are usually much more flavored and have more tastes while a lot of American dishes would consider rather blend; of course, the western habit of adding salt and pepper is a totally different habit whereas in Chinese cuisine the dishes are always well seasoned enough before they are brought out on the table. So, it turned out that although I felt like I shook the salt dispenser more than enough it still was blend to my taste. Oh well, my cooking skill needs just as much time to adjust as my jet lag.


  1. I am reading from Ann Arbor and will continue to read your posts, so post often! Best of luck with the new year in Towson!


    1. omg I'm so excited, you just left the first comment on my blog!! Enjoy your first year in Ann Arbor!