I’m part of a lunch circle at work, and this week was my turn to bring lunch for five so I made: tea eggs, tuna & kewpie mayo onigiri, and chickpeas salad (with not-pictured vinaigrette). I dumped arbitrary amounts of water, soy sauce, ground fennel seed, and a black tea bag into the pot for the tea eggs (taste-tested as I let it simmer for two hours), but here’s a proper recipe for anyone curious. The onigiri…. were a labor of love. (─︹─) Never cooking 5 lbs of rice at once again (and in a wok, no less).
Haven’t had a chance to do any grocery shopping since I’ve been back because jet lag had left me unbearably sleepy each day after work, so the city-wide lockdown means my next few meals will mostly consist of congee with pickled vegetables and canned mackerel. That’s already enough to consider myself lucky, especially when I think about the residents of Watertown, the MIT community, the commuters stranded earlier today at MBTA stations when the lockdown started.
Right now I need to distance myself from the relentless flood of media coverage; so much of it is bent on encouraging panic and distrust, so much irrelevant white noise. It was a sad moment when I read the background of the two suspects. I hope everyone’s family and friends stay safe through this nightmare.
My grandmother’s house in Shaanxi, which hasn’t changed a single bit in decades. There’s something intensely comforting about that consistency. Going back always feels like a full-body detox, a time to shed so many of the unnecessary layers that typically weigh me down, a way to simplify myself. Both electricity and running water were knocked out the days I was there, so I spent the afternoons watching my aunts and grandmother trash talk each other over mahjong with the occasional trip into town on the back of a bicycle. And, of course, nothing can compare to hardy Shaanxi feasts, plates of sautéed starch noodles/粉条 and zi juan (rolled vegetable pockets) that I can’t even find in Xi’an restaurants. If only I could’ve fueled up for an entire year. :(
It’s been an exhausting couple of days. So many people have reached out to me through text, e-mail, Facebook in concern, and I feel totally ill-equipped to handle the amount of compassion poured into Boston from all corners of the world. I keep tearing up in public, at work, on the bus, and I can no longer tell what’s driving the emotional backlash, whether the helplessness comes from aftershocks of fear and confusion or from an inability to process the overwhelming generosity of friends and strangers alike.
Despite that kindness, I haven’t felt so isolated in years. It’s magnified by how only a few days ago, I was surrounded by family and now I feel like I’m grappling alone through a blind obstacle course with no idea what lies at the end of it. The gut reaction of “I want to go home” and the harsh realization that I don’t mean Boston, not even with the number of years and contacts I’ve clocked here. I guess that saying about people and roots has merit. Home is where, etc. Maybe it’s because the attack happened so soon, not even 24 hours, after I landed and my head got stuck in the transition, stalled between two destinations without a clear answer of which one classifies as final.
I love staying with family friends in Atlanta. (There was an actual deer quietly grazing on the grass in the backyard one morning!) I feel like I eat pretty well in Boston, but nothing compares to 西安 hospitality. Pictured above: an 8:30 AM breakfast of freshly-brewed rice porridge, soup dumplings, and lobster.
I feel like I eat double the amount of baked goods and desserts in December than I do the entire rest of the year.
- Turkish pastries from a bakery just outside Boston
- Tiramisu with ladyfingers
- What my friend’s aunt described as the Albanian version of baklava (i.e. lots & lots of sugar)
I was supposed to get into beach shape this month…. I’ll let you guess the outcome of that (lack of) success story.
Holiday parties, the “quarter life crisis” edition: gold accents, rum-spiked candy-cane punch, and chasing tequila with gingerbread cookies. Pretty sure I slept less this week than during finals periods back in college, but none of it matters as long as it stays sunny in the Bahamas all next week. Happy winter solstice! If nothing else, the days can only get brighter from here on out.
An adapted (i.e. simplified) jajamyun attempt with pork, potatoes, onions, and mushrooms in black bean sauce. Decently tasty, though not… very authentic. (◡︿◡) Not sure what possessed me to make 5 lbs of noodles at once?? I live by myself and have plans to dine out for every meal this weekend…
M’s family graciously adopted me for Thanksgiving, so I spent yesterday eating plates on plates of Albanian/Italian food. Immediately proceeded to pass out on her cousin’s bed for a nap and woke up to tiramisu. I’m sad that I didn’t get to see family for the long weekend, but there’s a lot to appreciate even here in Boston. To be honest, I’ve never really gotten the hype around Thanksgiving - the origins are questionable, the travel surrounding it is full of stress, and I already feel pretty thankful most days of the year, not to mention Black Friday hysteria makes me avoid any type of retail setting. So instead I guess I’ll continue celebrating it for the paid time off work and an opportunity to feast on food.
Friendsgiving potluck yesterday, which didn’t have any turkey but made up for it with about four different pumpkin baked goods. We know our priorities. I baked a loaf of pumpkin bread but unfortunately took it out too early from the oven and didn’t realize until the center collapsed when we cut into it. Luckily everyone just ate it like a pumpkin bread pudding.
J made the most incredible chicken last night?! He claimed it was a simple baking job, but the flavor was unreal. Skin perfectly crisp, meat super tender. Eaten with sauteed broccoli rabe and Cajun rice. The temperature is a little too cold now to take full advantage of the balcony, but I can never resist views of the river and city skylines.
Nom-nomvember already! Snaps from October:
- Overlooking South End and Back Bay. It kills me a little that I could easily live in either area with what I currently pay for rent, if only I were willing to have a roommate. But then I wouldn’t be able to walk around my apartment in only my underwear? My priorities. (Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I cooked in a shirt.)
- Breakfast sandwiches are my ultimate weakness.
- SO ARE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES.
- As a preemptive effort to empty out my fridge in case I lost power, I tossed everything I had into a saucepan and stir-fried it.