The easy thing to do this moaning would be to launch into yet another sad lament about the winter weather, but honestly would it really do any good to anybody, including me, to expend any more ink and what little energy I have on one more long whine?
The easy thing to do would be to go back to bed and hide under the covers until ... until when? Well that's not going to offer any true relief either. What this day, what this week needs is an injection of enthusiasm, an exciting, interesting project to lift me up, up and away from wind and snow and cold, and I've found just the thing: FOOD and an celebration to go with it, Chinese New Year.
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One year when the children were little, I made a big deal out of this celebration. I made egg rolls from scratch to go with a run of the mill stir fry, topped with the ultimate kid pleaser, golden fried chow mein noodles. Of course there were fortune cookies for dessert and ice cream too. This time around I'm looking at something a little more enterprising and perhaps even a little more authentic. Here's what's under consideration for Saturday: crab Rangoon appetisers then homemade won ton soup, spring rolls, shrimp and snow peas, crispy orange beef, Chinese greens with oyster sauce and for more adventurous palates, ma po tofu. There will be jasmine rice, and maybe some coconut rice, and there will be fortune cookies. I'm really not sure about including those very unhealthy fried noodles, but they do bring a smile to my heart when I think about them.
My senses, especially my taste buds, well remember one of my mother's special meals. When I heard that "Chinese" was on the menu for supper, I was thrilled. This was well before there was a Chinese take-out in every neighbourhood, so it all came from a can. China Lily was the brand, with their distinctive black and yellow logo. There was chop suey, chow mein, sweet and sour sauce, water chestnuts and of course soya sauce, to which Mom added her own enhancements: herbs and spices, fresh carrots and frozen peas (these added some well needed colour), and leftover chicken or beef. Some times she went all out and cooked up pork spare ribs which were then slathered in the sweet and sour sauce. Oh, it was grand and of course our plates were topped with those bright yellow-orange fried noodles fresh out of a China Lily tin can. Such 'gourmet' meals filled hearts with joy, minds with memories and tummies with pretty good things.
Now it's time for me to finalise my menu, then source the ingredients. I'll let you know how it's all going on Thursday.
Woo Hoo! Let's get at it!
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©2014 April Hoeller