Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This Humbao Saved My Life

I know I need to work on my close-up pictures of food, but I need to explain why this picture is definitely more blurry than my others and verify that it IS actually humbao (because it looks more like an Aussie meat pie). Very, very, very tasty humbao. Thank goodness, Brian, I could finally eat this for you. Well, the reason that the picture is blurry is because we had such a full day, learning about and tasting Chinese food-which is just dreamy for me, right? -that "they" didn't factor in my food coma state if I don't eat every three hours (eat something substantial, with protein). By the beginning of our tour of Chinatown, we had gone about four hours without food (except for small tastes from the cooking demonstration), but the tour started right underneath an award-winning humbao place, pictured here:

Which created agony. So close. A few of us slipped in and tried to get a "quick" humbao while our tour guide began her talk about immigrants, etc. But there was a woman in line ahead of us who was ordering FOUR full boxes of humbao, and the man behind the counter wrapped each box SO deliberately and carefully, with string hanging from the ceiling...wrapped it around once, twice, three times, then tied a nice, slow bow and cut it and counted out the change so exactly...that by the time we ordered our quick buns to go, the group was moving on to the next destination. Brian, I had to stuff half of it in my mouth in order to keep living, which is why it was squished, and then had to take the picture as I ran to keep up with the tour. I was sad, though, when I ate it, because it was so good and you weren't here to eat it with me.

So we started our day learning about food for the Chinese New Year. A professor from Columbia spiced up her talk by bringing in Chinese Moon Cakes, sticky rice wrapped in leaves, mochi and spring rolls. Remember my Chinese assistant, Sunny, whom I couldn't have lived without last summer (pictured here)? Well, she sends me text messages all the time, some funny and some very profound. A few funny ones: "During my English oral exam, two women laughed at me when I said 'I am so hot' before beginning my speech. Marjie, why did they laugh at me?" or 2). When she sent me a message on April Fool's Day, telling me that Amy, my best friend on the China trip, was pregnant (reminding me that it was April Fool's Day and prompting me to play the mean trick Jessica referred to on the comments). But a profound message was when she texted "I am sitting on a hill, looking at the moon and eating a moon cake" (for Chinese New Year). So today, while eating the moon cake, I sent her the same message (without the moon part). I have been thinking of Sunny so much lately.

After the New Year Food class, we took a train to NYU in Greenwich Village and got to hear a very special woman speak. Grace Young, most recently, wrote a book titled Breath of a Wok, but she has quite a resume...featured on NPR, in the NY Times, on Good Morning, America, etc. Her passion is in preserving Chinese culinary traditions, and I just loved her. I don't think that that is just because I love her topic so well, either. She is so gracious and hands-down the best presenter we have had. She gave an hour long PowerPoint talk about people, woks, cooking stories, etc, then we got to go into the cooking demo room and she made four dishes for us to taste *hence my food coma later. She said that street stir-frying is really a dying art and I got to speak to her afterward about my Stir-Fry Street in Shaoxing. I had a feeling about how lucky I was to be in that city, so close to that street, but she confirmed it. Not many places in China still support that because they are modernizing so quickly. We shared a nice conversation. I am planning to buy her book.

I am so tired right now I will have to turn in. I am pretty exhausted! I can't tell you how nice it is to come back to this terrible room and click on my blog and read the comments, or to read your comments on email, too. They really make my day, just as much as that humbao did! Good night everyone~


The Norris Clan said...

Blast that silly lady ordering four boxes! Food is NEVER as good when you have to shove it in. At least you are in your brother's good graces again!

I had some delicious dumplings today (I call them gyoza) and thought of you!

Enjoy your mattress!

Angie said...

Hey Marj, I am finally catching up! I got short chance Tuesday at work, and now on our first Friday home in about 3 weeks, I am totally enjoying reading your blog.

I just have one question: I don't know what a mooncake is. Will you fix/buy me one when you get home?

Angie said...

Speaking of rain, has anyone mentioned that we have had enough now over here in Western Washington? But you are right Marj, it doesn't compare to New York rain.

I checked out the book Madame X from the library, and am excited to start it. Man, I wish I could be at the art museum there in New York with you! That was one of my favorite places in New York.

It's also a good thing I decided to wait until after dinner to read all of your posts that I have missed. Otherwise I'd be salivating!

Angie said...

Marjie, One more thing. I just looked at my music club website, and they had staff recommendations. One was Spring Awakening! Had to post it for you.

Marjie Bowker said...

Amy said:

You cannot make me addicted to reading your blog every evening, then SKIP a day!

I. I'm disappointed. Downtrodden.
2. I'm worried. Are you sick? Hurt? In hospital? Wearing clean underwear?
3. I'm intrigued. What took you away?


The Norris Clan said...

I second what Amy said! Refer to the comment on your "Van Gogh" day post...

Brian Bowker said...

I can not express how jealous I am about your squished humbao!