Archive for July 2008
I planted a bunch of basil seeds in this pot and was feeling pretty sad that nothing was growing. This afternoon, I noticed a big old lump of dirt in the middle that was previously flat. I pushed on the dirt a little bit to see what was going on under there (I really thought there were going to be a bunch of bugs or something there), and found all these sprouts hiding underneath! How awesome! I was starting to think that I had a black thumb after all.
In addition to the mesclun greens that sprouted (you can sorta see the little green sprouts in the background bokeh), this is my little garden! Yay! I feel really accomplished since things are now growing. I guess the big thing now is that I’ll need to thin these basil plants out since I just dumped a whole packet of seeds into the pot because I didn’t know what to do with the other seeds, and I also wasn’t sure how many of the seeds would grow. I guess now I’ll have a better idea and not plant EVERYTHING all at once in a teeny tiny little pot.
Now if only the mint and lettuce would sprout too! I also dug up one of the plots of dirt and planted some perennial wildflowers there, so hopefully in a week or two, there will be a bunch of new sprouts there too to help bring some colour to the backyard. I’m really excited. Such a huge dork.
While volunteering to help set up a local 4th of July celebration, I met a bunch of people, including one asian woman, presumably of Chinese descent. One and a half hours after we had started setting up, during a lull in the work, she introduced herself. She did not do it in the typical way of starting with her name. Instead she chose to ask me a question in her heavily accented voice:
“You speak-a Chinese?”
I told her that no, I do not speak Chinese, and that I am not even ethnically Chinese in the first place (thanks for assuming that I’m Chinese). When she learned that I was Filipina, she then asked if I speak Tagalog. The woman was hell-bent on assigning a spoken (Asian) language to me. When I replied that I do not speak Tagalog either, she once again did not respond with the regular response. Most people simply say, “Oh ok” when I state the sad fact that I only speak one language fluently, but not this woman. She then demanded:
Why not? Did she really just ask me that? Needless to say, I was annoyed. I then told her that my dad speaks only English, to have her say, “Why’s that? You must have been born here.” Ah… assuming my place of birth now, as well as the ethnic descent of my father to still be Asian. Even the replies that, “No, I was born in Manila,” and “My dad is from NY” were really not enough for her. I could see more questions brewing as to this mystery why my assumedly Asian dad did not speak Some Asian Language and how it could be that I wasn’t born in America and my parents still did not make me learn Some Asian Language. I think she was starting to think that my parents were terribly irresponsible for not teaching me Some Asian Language at some point.
I really did not feel like getting into the fact that my dad is a white half-polish Jew from NY, because it would only make her more confused and also make it more difficult for her to put me into a neat little ethnic category. What? Your dad is white? But you don’t look like you’re mixed. And then the person will Care Bear Stare me into the ground. I am well versed when it comes to the standard responses when it comes to discussing my family background.
The entire exchange made me a bit angry because:
A) She does not have the right to ask me about my ethnic descent
B) She could not accept that I do not speak another language and was quite argumentative
C) This was our very first verbal exchange after an hour and a half of me trying to catch her eye and introduce myself to her
By the way, the top ethnicities that I get mistaken for are Chinese and Korean, especially round these parts of the Bay Area. Being mistaken for Korean is very rare, and I never get mistaken for Vietnamese or Filipina. I think that most people make the mistake of assuming that I’m Chinese because Frank looks really Chinese and if I was with him, then I must be Chinese too, right?
Lately, I have been obsessed with making my own popcorn at home, only without having to use the microwave (ours is lucky it’s even plugged in!). Instead of buying packets of microwave popcorn that come with nasty freaky flavourings on them, we buy bags of regular old popcorn and I make it on the stove. It’s really easy, and I can add whatever flavours I want to it, usually just a bit of kosher salt. It’s nice to be able to make as much or as little as you want.
How to do it yourself at home:
- Buy some fresh popping corn. The keyword here is fresh. It must be fresh, or it will not pop up as big as the stale kind of popping corn. How to tell if it’s fresh? There is usually a date on the bag itself telling you when it expires. I’ve bought my freshest popcorn from Walmart, of all god forsaken places. My reasoning behind this is that cheap people go to Walmart. Cheap people like to buy popping corn in bulk. Therefore, there is more turnover at Walmart for popping corn. Who knows if I’m actually right or if I just get lucky…
- Get a heavy pot. I’ve tried this with a regular old aluminum pot and it didn’t work so great, but it works just fine with any pots that are a bit thicker than the standard aluminum pots. I use one with a non-stick coating, but it’s not required. I think if you wanted to use a wok, that would work just great too.
- Make sure the pot has a lid. The lid is key. Otherwise you will be chasing popcorn all over your kitchen, with the horrible chance of maybe getting it in your eye. Think about it… a burning hot popcorn kernel in your eye is NOT a good idea.
- Heat the pot on the stove on medium heat. When it’s good and hot, pour some oil in there. I just use regular old olive oil, but you can use pretty much anything. I imagine the sesame oil would probably taste really good! I also throw in a bit of salt into the oil at this point, but you can wait for the salt until the end.
- Pour some kernels into the pan. The whole idea is that the maximum amount you can make is dictated by the size of your pot, and you should not be putting in so many kernels in that you can’t have a single layer of them in the bottom. I usually put them in by the handful until it looks right.
- Put the lid on and toss the kernels in the oil to get them coated. When you’re done tossing them around, make a little crack with the lid to let steam escape.
- Wait until the first one pops. Once it starts popping, you will have to occasionally shake the pot around to make sure that the un-popped kernels are getting moved around and nothing gets burned. When you are not shaking the pot, make sure the lid is a bit askew to let steam escape.
- When the popping slows down (kinda like microwave popcorn making), you are done! Keep the lid on for at least 20 seconds after removing from the heat in case there’s a kernel at the bottom that feels like popping and tossing all your popcorn out onto the floor.
- Enjoy your popcorn! You can put whatever toppings you want on there like melted butter, salt, sugar, maple syrup, melted chocolate, etc. Yeah… get creative once you get the hang of it!