The Chinese character 糕 gao can be used on its own or in combination with other characters to mean, more or less, “fairly solid food somewhat like a cake but not always what would be considered a cake from a Western perspective”. Examples include 蛋糕 dan gao, lit. “egg cake”, which refers to (for lack of a better term) normal cakes, and 雪糕 (xue gao in Mandarin, but it’s primarily a Cantonese term; lit. “snow cake”), which means “ice cream”.
So 年糕 nian gao, lit. “year cake”, is a difficult food to explain, not least because there are several different types that can be served several different ways, like non-glutinous Shanghainese 年糕 nian gao that can be stir-fried with meat and vegetables for a savory dish or sprinkled with granulated sugar for dessert. I prefer Cantonese 年糕 nian gao though – it can be served as a super-sticky pudding or cut into slices, dipped in egg and pan-fried. The way I ended up getting people to eat it without being able to do a great translation was, “It’s, like, a glutinous rice cake? Well, not really a cake, but – here, just try it.”
And then the 年糕 nian gao did its own talking.
Anyway, let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start). Why did I have Cantonese 年糕 nian gao on hand, anyway? Well, I decided that since it was Chinese New Year, it was a good time to undertake an overly ambitious dorm cooking project. (I have been cooking a little since I got to college, but nothing I haven’t made before.) I did the majority of the prep work in my room – my roommate’s hot water pot was a great help.
Things have been going a little less than swimmingly lately. I won’t give you details because I don’t want the little smiling egg at the top of this blog to have to start frowning.
Today, I attempted to solve this problem by:
- Actually starting a bit of revision for my exams, which start in 24 days,
- Watching one and a half episodes of 30 Rock,
- Taking a nap when the time limit kicked in,
- Making this lime curd when I woke up,
- Putting it on toast. Because, as I have said before, everything is good on toast.
So I finally saw The King’s Speech. Wow. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Last Sunday was a good day for food. The day before, I realized that we were watching the movie at 9:10 am (I know, but…cheaper tickets!), meaning we probably wouldn’t have time to buy snacks and bubble tea to sneak into the theater. Solution? Make some snacks of my own.
Chocolate truffles are easy to pop into your mouth during a movie and are sweet enough that you don’t feel the need to scarf (scoff?) them all down in one go. And they’re easy to make. Win-win-win. The win starts with three bars of chocolate and some heavy cream.
I love my math class so much that I made us all banana muffins for our Friday morning lesson. That and everyone else is bringing breakfast stuff.
We had a super-ripe banana lying around, and just too many other ones.
The good thing about the internet is that you can make something your own so easily. From the day I discovered Geocities (RIP) to today, I’ve probably set up (and abandoned) dozens of websites, blogs, emails and other social networking accounts. There are very few I’ve truly stuck to, and although it’s too soon to say whether this blog is one of them, I’m already surprised at how committed I’ve been to it. (This is probably a testament to just how big of a role food plays in my life.) One of my less successful endeavors was Fruity Five, which I created in 2008 as a weekly blog of my top 5 items in various categories. I wrote one post on my top five fruits (hurr hurr hurr) and either forgot about it or couldn’t be bothered to write any more. Sigh. The only remotely good thing that came out of Fruity Five was its header, which depicts the first piece of vector art I ever did on Photoshop:
Apparently, winter is citrus season. I never knew that before I started reading food blogs, so I wonder how much of a social construct that is. I do love limes like the one depicted in that header, but we eat a lot more oranges than limes at home. My mom read somewhere last year that steaming oranges is a good idea. I still question this, but it left me with a way to not throw away a nice, intact orange peel…