Backlog: I’m feeling potlucky!

Sunday was a very culinary day. ;) After doing my chores and my
laundry, I decided that a potluck lunch was in order, and I called up
Andrew and Mike. They were glad to come even though they had just half
an hour’s notice. (Heh.) Mike didn’t answer his phone the first few
times I called, so I couldn’t borrow his teriyaki stirfry sauce.
Instead, I prepared sesame and ginger chicken stirfry from scratch. I
also contributed jasmine rice (no ginger this time). Andrew brought
homemade wonton and garlic string beans, and Mike brought a sack of
fruits. Much fun was had by all, especially by Andrew, who turned out
to be a closet food stylist.

Barbecue for dinner was absolutely fantastic, too. Bill joined us,
bringing these totally awesome homemade(!!) jalapeno sausages and
other wonderful things. Andrew brought vegetable skewers, Mike brought
potatoes and turkey sausages, and I brought fruits (my canteloupe,
oranges and apples, plus Mike’s mango).

This segued naturally into coffee time and a nice long chat with Bill,
Chloe, and Stefan. Chloe’s even perkier than I am. She’s _so_ cool.
And so British, too… =)

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼はネコにトムとジェリーとなづけた。 They named their cats Tom and Jerry.

Dips

The dips Bill brought deserve their own entry. He brought taramosalata, a Greek dip of… umm… carp egg caviar. =) But it was really nice, particularly with the chips. He also brought this totally awesome cheese dip with hints of curry, and I have to steal that recipe from him.

And he makes his own sausages. Isn’t that just mind-boggling?

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Random Japanese sentence: あなたが不在の間、誰があなたの猫の世話をするのか。 Who will look after your cat while you are away?

Salmon steak with dill

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Pizza is the mind-killer

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Taro

I joined other recent hires for an evening out that ended up at a bubble tea shop. I ordered taro bubble tea with tapioca. Someone asked me what taro was, and I paused as I tried to describe it to people who had never had taro before.

For me, taro bubble tea is wrapped up in all sorts of memories: standing in long lines to bubble tea shops as the craze swept through Manila, finding out that one of my university teachers was in a car accident because he jaywalked to buy a cup of bubble tea, going to Quickly with my sister and poking the thick straw through the taut plastic that was just added by their special cup-sealing machines, rolling my tongue around the spongy tapioca that took me back even further to innumerable glasses of sago’t gulaman quenching childhood thirsts.

I remember copying my sister after she ordered taro with large tapioca pearls. Years later, it’s still the flavour I return to.

“Taro?” I said. “They’re roots.”

Taho

From Sunday:

When I was growing up, we often had taho for breakfast. Manila had many magtataho who roamed the streets each morning, with two aluminum buckets hanging in balance from a pole. One bucket had tofu, and the other had compartments for tapioca pearls and sugar syrup. Yaya would have glasses filled and brought upstairs, where they would wait under crocheted glass-covers for us. Sometimes I lucked out and had two glasses of taho, like when I knew other people had finished breakfast already. Sometimes we had taho for afternoon snacks, too. It was fun watching the vendors work: swiftly scooping the tofu into a glass, spooning tapioca pearls in, swirling the syrup and mixing everything together.

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There are no taho vendors in this part of Toronto – or perhaps anywhere in Canada. But we can get silken tofu and tapioca pearls at the Lawrence Supermarket on Black Creek Drive. After five years of only having taho on my trips home, I found a recipe on the Internet and made taho for the first time. It’s simple: a syrup of brown sugar and water, tapioca pearls, and warm silken tofu.

It tasted like the quiet mornings of childhood.