Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cakes of Epic Import

Then a songge of Cake was sung,
So that the mann’s warlike example would inspyre the warriors
Beseachyng on God for aid, they joined battle
Emilysch, who sangge very well,
Rode on a swift horse before the Duke
Syngging of Charlemagne and Roland and Oliver
and the knyghts who died at Ganache

Yes, dear compatriots, this is the epic story of two cakes whose glory and power in battle defied all challengers and brought honor and laud to their gallant Lords and their noble King for whom they pledged all. Many brave souls perished in the fray, but their song shall live on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Communist Dinner

The scenario: ward dinner. Your assignment is to use your house's Sunday dinner budget to create a potluck item that will regale and satisfy members of the entire ward while still transmitting a little local ethnic charm. Not too much ethnic charm, mind you, because even though these are all ostensibly cosmopolitan language students, they still complain under their breath about the mugi cha the Japanese house made us drink last month. (I went to the mattresses for you, though, mugi cha. I'm your sole defender!)

The plot twist: Right as you get home from grocery shopping, having purchased the retailer's entire supply of ground pork for a massive project of epic Chinese proportions, the powers that be inform you that ward dinner has been canceled and you should just feed your own house. Your poor little vegetarian stomach with its lack of bromelain starts to weep as it eyes the ten pounds of styrofoam-packaged pork you just stuck in the fridge.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, Don't You Cry. Verse 2.

This culinary adventure was inspired by the upcoming ward talent show. I had just learned to sing the pie song and accompany myself on guitar, which the way I do it is kind of like the servant who was only in charge of one talent and goes and buries it in the backyard. So that on its own wouldn't have merited signing up for the ward talent show. But my roommate Julia Child suggested that I couple it with an actual pie, and the postmodern appeal was just too much for me to pass up. I practiced the song and made a plan for Julia Child to help me out by serving the pie while I sang. And thus begins our tale.

Our pie needed to be strawberry of some sort, because the song has it full of strawberry love. And even though a fresh strawberry pie is all sorts of lusciousness, what kind of showing off would it be to just make a fresh strawberry pie? So this is going to be a Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie. "Nobody in the world can make strawberry chocolate pie like you. Wednesday is my favorite day of the week just cause I get to have me a slice of it. I think about it as I’m waking up. It could solve all the problems of the world, that pie. It’s a thing of beauty….how each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. "

Cupcake Frenzy

I like to consider myself cooler than most cooking trends. Like cupcakes. Cupcakes are so Rexbourgeois. But sometimes I go because I'm on the Relief Society activity committee so I have to be helpful and not a snob and then before I know it, I find myself making tiny roses out of fondant. And I end up enjoying myself, dangit.

Here are some pictures of the lovely colorful fun we had at our activity. The dragon may or may not have been my attempt at introducing reptiles into the world of fondant.

Kodak Moment

Piao Liang is an MBA student who is way too busy for anything. She came home from campus the other day, having eaten nothing all day but shrimp chips. From this bag of shrimp chips larger than her head. Everyday objects are just everyday objects, until they're bigger than your head. Then, they're postmodern and fascinating.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chinese House Dinner, Southern Style

The way the Chinese house works, is: you pay a little extra every month and then with that money they buy food for you to eat together five nights a week. Whoever is in your "language house" is who you cook and eat with - in the case of Chinese, we've just got one girls' apartment and one guys' apartment - 10 people. I used to live in the French House, which was like 30 people and cooking dinner was intense but you only had to do it once a month or so. This is smaller and nicer, and you cook more often - once every two weeks. The ostensible purpose of this is to have time together to converse in the language you're learning. The real purpose, we all know, is to amaze your roommates with your culinary prowess and find new and exciting edible creations to soothe the savage hordes. It's a game, you see, and if the boys compliment your food, you win. (Somedays I think I may be the sole inhabitant of my little planet.)

Today's recipe. This feeds 10 people!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chinese Dinner in the Wilds of Montana

I'm home for Thanksgiving and wanted to make something for my family. Turns out they're my most critical audience to date, which is probably good for me.

14-Year Old Sister: What is that?

Me: Chinese food

14-Year Old Sister: Are you going to put rice in it or something?

Me: Chinese people don't mix their rice in with the dishes, they eat it in separate little bowls

14-Year Old Sister: It looks weird.

Me: It tastes good.

14-Year Old Sister: What is it? Some kind of salad?

Me: No, salads aren't usually cooked.

14-Year Old Sister: So it's just vegetables in a bowl?

Me: Is that OK?

14-Year Old Sister: It's weird.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gonna Make a Pie With a Heart in the Middle

This isn't the most conventional way to kick off a blog that's ostensibly about food that I make in the Chinese house because today's food was neither in the Chinese house nor made by me. But it's a family tradition, and it's that time of year, so I'm gonna make you a pie with a heart in the middle.

But first of all, get thee to iTunes and look up Quincy Coleman, "Baby Don't You Cry (The Pie Song)" from the Waitress soundtrack. And if you're 99 cents richer than you need to be, buy it and listen to it as you make the Southern Pecan Pie that my family is famous for.

Baby don't you cry
Gonna make a pie
Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle

Baby don't be blue
Gonna make for you
Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle

Gonna be a pie from heaven above
Gonna be filled with
strawberrycorn syrup love
Baby don't you cry
Gonna make a pie
And hold you forever in the middle of my heart.