Friday, August 24, 2012

Making Rice... the OG way

During one of my weekly trips to Costco:

A: Are you getting rice for your parents? 
Me: Why do you assume that's the only thing that they would want ?
A: Because they're Asian? 

I could think of no clever response to that.... because it was true. The word 'Asians' and 'rice' are synonymous, kind of like 'peanut butter' and 'jelly' - you can't think of one, without thinking of the other. There are some who break away from eating rice on a daily basis due to to wanting to eat healthier, but you never meet an Asian who never liked it, or at least I have never met one in my life.

Some of you might think... rice is rice... is rice. Tell that to an Asian person, more specifically, an Asian person from Asia,  and you have pretty much offended them on the same level as if you would have told them that their child was ugly. (Unless they agreed with you... then that analogy wouldn't work). Different rice brands have different type of flavoring, and while some might think that it all tastes the same, there are those like my dad who will swear, that they are not.

Me: How about we get this rice? 
Dad: NO! Get the California rice...
Me: Why? how is it differernt from the Kokiko rice brand...
Dad: I don't like it... it's not the same.
Me: It's the same think...
Dad: no. 

While most rice connoisseurs cook their rice in rice cookers, there are those - like myself - who choose to cook their rice in a regular ole-pot on a stove. Yes, cooking rice in a rice cooker is easier, is faster, may come even better, but cooking rice in a pot on the stove is the O.G. way. 'O.G.' meaning, it's the way people do it when they couldn't/can't afford rice cookers, it was the way people would make it before rice cookers were even invented. Rice cookers were invented fairly recently considering that rice in itself has been around for centuries.

My rice... bubbling
I suppose the reason for me continuously making rice the traditional way is because of the very fact that it is traditional; it is knowledge that is being lost with each generation's increased usage of the rice cooker. And yes, I know... I know... it's just cooking rice, it's not any sort of dire information that is pivotal to the survival of the human race. But I feel like tradition, even how small or minute, tells us a lot about who we are and our journey as a people and we ultimately gain a deeper appreciation for it. What happens when tradition fades into distant memory, to only become facts written in History books for people to learn from? I suppose we move on, adopt and create new traditions to call our own, but I'd like to think something more is lost when tradition is lost.

So... I make rice the OG way, washing my rice, measuring the rice with my pinky, which I think drives my engineer husband crazy since there is no exact formula for my rice making.

Convo we had when we first started dating....

A: How may cups of rice did u put in?
Me: I don't know... i just poured
A: What? How are you just going pour the rice? You need to know how many cups you put in so you put water accordingly.
Me: I just measure the water by my pinky ::Point to half inch marker of my pinky


Pointing to my pinky
A: Why would you do that?
Me: B/c that's how I was taught?  

and my rice comes out perfect every time.. so I'm sticking to my tradition.

Monday, August 20, 2012

So... I fed my mother-in-law Filipino food

My mother-in-law came into town from Kansas for her 'once a year trip to Seattle' to visit us.


We went to some wineries in the Woodinville area


Mathews Vineyard... so so wine

Chateau de Michelle - made me want to live in a Chateau









Hung out on the beach
Jeti Island Beach

Went to Mt Rainier and got bit by mosquitoes. (Damn you mosquitoes! Damn you!)






And.... we ate Filipino food.

I mean, we ate other foods as well (Buffalo Wild Wings, Thai, Subway, Sonic Burger, Belgium waffles), but feeding my mother-in-law Filipino food was an epic event in itself as I had spent the week prior contemplating Should I ? Or shouldn't I? and if I do, what should I make?

Oh, the problems that we who live in a first world country have to face on a daily basis.

It was partly for selfish reasons that I wanted to make my mother-in-law some Filipino cuisine: I had this craving, one of those deep resounding cravings that wouldn't get out of my head. I would be reading my book about vampires or what not, and all of a sudden the thought would cross my head of mmmm.... longanisa.... with rice... mmmmm. Or, I would be doing one of my runs in the neighborhood and would pass by a house fumed by Filipino food (or at least I wanted to believe that it was Filipino food) and my stomach to start to rumble in hunger at it's first scent.

I suppose that's what happens when you eat Filipino food almost every day of your youth, then you grow up, move out of your parents house, and marry a white guy who likes eating healthy stuff like... turkey wraps, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind eating healthy. In fact it's probably a good thing that I've started to eat better considering that Filipinos are known to have conditions of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc etc. I'm pretty sure it has to do with diet, but like I said... I get these cravings where I just have to have it.

My hesitancy in cooking my mother-in-law Filipino food was due to the fact that I didn't know if she was going to like it or not. I mean, she's from Kansas where they have chicken huts that sell fried chicken in the middle of no where.

Frotenec, Kansas... this chicken actually gave me food poisening... and the water tastes funny. But Grandma Hulk loves eating here.
And I dont think Asian cuisine has much of presence or is as diverse in the midwest as in the West Coast. 

But I gauged what to make her based on two things :  what people from other different ethnicities have told me they enjoyed in Filipino cuisine and what I have fed my husband that he liked. Nothing gooey, nothing with crawling legs, no fetus' of an bird (balut), nothing weird.

 I decided to make her adobo, pancit, and rice. A basic enjoyable dish. 

I think she liked it. I eyed her like a hawk... well, I tried to be inconspicuous during dinner, but I was watching if she took seconds.. and I think she did. ...I think...O great, now I don't remember. :( What if she didn't like it? She might've said mmmm... this is good ... but she could have just been saying it just to be nice ... that is .. if she said it. Now I don't know anymore. ... o dear. 

I probably am doubting myself and making a big deal out of nothing for no good reason, but people's taste buds are different and it's tough but introducing ethnic foods to people that you're not quite sure how they're taste buds will react. What I do know for sure that she didn't get sick afterwards from my food... because we had the epic day at Mt Rainier and she was fine. ... that's a good thing, right? Maybe I'll offer to make it again next time she comes... and if her face cringes even the slightest bit... I'll know for sure. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Boater in Me

I was an English major in college. I think its pretty rare for an Asian person to be an English major since most Asian people I know were in business school, were on the medical path, majored in Asian American Studies, anything other than English. Perhaps it is because there exists a disconnect between the English History and background infused in English literature, and the history and culture of Asian people. Or maybe it's because Asian families elevate occupations such as doctors, accountants, engineers that their children see importance in becoming those things. I don't know...

 OH, but I loved it. I loved learning about the History, I loved reading, writing papers, being in discussions and listening in on What does it all mean?!?  I felt intellectually/creatively stimulated. It would seem a paradox that I ended up in accounting, but... it is what it is.

Despite my love for words, I find that a certain boaterness somehow seems to creep up once in a while. Not so much a boaterness in mannerisms - like being surprised the person calling you has their name show up on the caller id.

My dad does this all the time.

Dad:Oh-how did you know it was me? 
Me: Caller ID
Dad: Oh.. hahahahahaaha
Me : O_O

No, it's a sort of boaterness that comes with language. I don't know where it comes from. I mean, I was born here (in the good ole US of A) I watched American television all the time, ate McDonalds all the time growing up. You would think that those types of things would totally Americanize me, me already being American. But no, this boaterness comes out of nowhere. When I'm having random conversations, when I'm writing emails... ha! especially when I'm writing emails.

Example:

Friend: Oh man I need an umbrella
Me: Yea, it raining. 

Another Example through email:

Please see attached. contact me for free. (feel free to contact me)

A lot of times when I write these email, I don't get myself until after the email is sent. Then it's like ... dammit! But it's usually too late to recall the message.

Other times, I'll subconsciously pronounce things with a Filipino accent.

Surfrice! (Suprise!)

We're on the second praise... I mean phase. 

I do know the reasoning for this: Growing up I would always make fun of my dad and the way he said things. In fact, I still do sometimes. In effect, I inherited some boaterness. I feel like it's karma's way of saying this is what you get for making fun of the way your dad talks. muahahah..

Ehh, but I probably deserve it.