Friday, November 25, 2005

King of the Grottoes or Grottos

I'd like to keep up the Hawaii-is-totally-different-from-the-Mainland schtick and tell you of the bizarre things we ate for T-giving. Perhaps a little hot and spicy squid? Maybe a bit of the squashed pig's face? A few gallons of Hawaiian poke, aka marinated raw fish, perchance? But, alas, we had a turkey, stuffing (Stove Top of course), Turkey dressing with some hard-boiled egg inside (my mom's creation, as far as I know), asparagus, and a pumpkin pie. "Say it isn't so!" you exclaim. "Tell me of kochu jang paste!" But it is.

And I liked it.

Somehow I've been cooking up a lot lately. On Monday I created completely from scratch salmon crepes in an herb cream sauce. Bizarrely, the crepes themselves were mediocre, using the recipe from my Crepes cookbook, so I'm going to go back to Fanny Farmer's version. I was happy with this because it wasn't something I planned out over the weekend and laboriously prepped for. We just had some salmon and I stood there thinking "what's an interesting way to eat it?" Crepes it was. I like taking things and wrapping them up. 2 days later it was fajitas. Then N did the pumpkin pie, and I did everything else for Turkey day. N has been the queen of breakfast with some yummy berry pancakes and the like.

Today, the day after T-giving, we went up to Waimea Valley, which is on the North Shore. It's a beautiful lush valley with moss covering all the rocks and a nice waterfall in the back. One of the highlights was the ruins of Hawaiian settlements that remain there. That's my sort of thing. I have talked about going to Tahiti here before, but it's not so much for the ocean, though the pictures of those small huts standing over the crystal clear blue-tinged water are heartstopping. No, I want to go up into the mountains and move through the trees and find how the Tahitians lived before Captain Cook came. There's always been something about large rocks that you can move under and around, while the air is cool and slightly moist that takes me away. You can call me the Grotto King.

In other news, I actually had a chance to use my Chinese today. The family went to the Xmas parade this evening. On the way back we stopped for a mango-pinapple-more-stuff smoothie. As we were there a small group stopped and asked in broken English for directions to a hotel, showing the hotel key. Unfortunately, we had no idea where it was, but in talking the man said "nei ge" in Chinese which just means "that". Or "which" since my tones are horrible. Since their English was even worse than my awful Chinese, I flipped into it. Of course, they were rather pleased to stop some white guy on the street and have him respond in their language. While the meeting became quite jovial at that point, and I did better than expected speaking, it didn't help that I still did not know where the hotel was. In the end, they knew it was on the beach, which isn't very helpful in Waikiki, and I pointed them at least towards the ocean. You must understand that this was rather exceptional in my life. The great majority of Chinese-speaking people in the U.S. speak Cantonese, while all the colleges teach Mandarin. My years of Chinese study have only been useful maybe 5 times in the U.S., so it was nice to get one more chance.

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