Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Winter That Wasn’t

So far this winter has really been the winter that wasn’t.  The Chicago area did not get its first one inch snowfall until this past Friday.  We went an incredible 335 days between one inch snowfalls.  And today it’s 60 degrees!

I’m not ready to say winter is over; I’ve witnessed flurries in May.  However, I won’t be sad if we don’t get any big accumulations.  I am OK with rain; I know the farmers need the precipitation, but I don’t have to shovel rain.

I would like snow better if I didn’t have to shovel it or drive in it.  If I could stay home with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and admire the glistening snowflakes through my window, I’d be fine with it.  But alas, that is not usually the case.

But in the spirit of admiring the snow through the window, I offer two cozy winter stories:

Uncle Phil’s Diner by Helena Clare Pittman tells the story of a cold, snowy Sunday morning when Ruthie and her father undertake the ten block walk to Uncle Phil’s diner.  As they walk they try to keep their mind off the cold by reminiscing about the fun they had over the summer and sing in anticipation of the yummy treats (including blueberry pancakes with blueberries they picked and preserved themselves the previous summer) that await them at the diner.  Includes the recipe for Uncle Phil’s Blueberry Pancakes.

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai tells the story of a little girl and her mother making soup from the visit to the market to buy the vegetables to sprinkling it with parsley at the table as they prepare to eat it.  Includes the recipe for Snowy Day Vegetable Soup.

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Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございま!

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new year and our hope for good things to come.  Japan, unlike many other Asian countries, celebrates the new year according to the Western calendar, so today my family and I headed over to the nearby Japanese market to watch mochi-tsuki and listen to taiko drumming.  We concluded our festivities with homemade sushi.

From My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe

From My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe

In honor of the new year, I offer the following stories by Ying Chang Compestine and their accompanying recipes.  Set in China the first two are original stories for the new year.  Boy Dumplings would be perfect to tell around Halloween and the last two offer the author’s imaginings on the history of chopsticks and noodles.

The Runaway Rice Cake     Baked Nián-Gão
                                                        Steamed Nián-Gão
The Runaway Wok                Festive Stir-Fried Rice
Boy Dumplings                        Boy-Free Dumplings (i.e. Potstickers)
The Story of Chopsticks     Sweet Eight Treasures Rice Pudding
The Story of Noodles           Long-Life Noodles
Happy reading and happy eating!
May 2013 bring health, happiness and prosperity.

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