Handyman Sam

>> Monday, April 26, 2010

Sam is growing up. I've noticed it more in the past few days. He's keeping things personal, shutting the door to his room, thinking about things and taking more responsibility. It's a subtle shift that I suppose has been happening for a while now. It's really neat to watch him grow.

Tonight is a good example. We were making s'mores for FHE when a handle on the cabinet fell off. Matt is at a conference today, so he wasn't here to fix it. I didn't think twice about it because the roasted marshmallows were calling me at the moment.

Sam came in a minute later with a screwdriver and started to fix it. He got the right screwdriver head and figured out what needed to be done. I didn't ask him. He just saw the need and did it. I was really impressed and proud of him.

It's bitter sweet to realize that he's really growing up. And at times like these I think he'll turn out just fine.


Jiao zi

>> Sunday, April 25, 2010

One of my favorite foods to eat in Beijing is jiaozi. The English word for it is "dumplings" but those pedestrian nine letters don't do justice to the painstakingly rolled out wrappers delicately crimped around pork and fennel and spices which are then boiled or fried and dipped in a soy and garlic sauce. One of the best restaurants in Beijing, which has also been listed as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, specializes in jiaozi. And the chefs there study for years before they're even allowed to put one together. And it tastes divine.

Lucky for us, we have someone who makes amazing jiaozi upon request. Almost every woman in Beijing knows how to do this dish. It's traditional for all holidays and family gatherings and many people have it every week, too. We've had a lot of jiaozi, but we like Hanying's the best. She will make 150 or so and then we eat some that night and put the rest in the freezer for lunches and weekends when she's not there to cook.

Below, you can see the pork and fennel mixture. She also puts a bunch of other stuff in. I simply must learn how to do all this before we leave!!!! You can kind of see, at the top right of the picture, her holding the jiaozi wrapper just about to fold it up and set it on the cookie sheet next to the other perfectly crimped dumplings.

Here's a little video of Hanying making jiaozi. She says something to the effect of, "If your mom comes to Beijing, China, I'll make jiaozi for her." (You hear that, Mom?) I then, said, in very poor Chinese, "We like to eat jiaozi, too." Hanying is amazing!


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