I have a new friend. He's tall. And multi-talented. He's a DJ and a sailboat racer and a softwear engineer and now he's enrolled in culinary school. (One I approve of.)(!) He's silly and funny and we start a lot of sentences we don't finish.
Today we argued about Slick Rick's La Di Da Di. I have only ever been able to find the live version, but today he played the studio version. From an actual record. And he did some scratching. It was wondrous. Sometimes you look for the right song for years and years. Makes the finding all the more sweet.
Then we made a big batch of gianduja pot de creme. He got a (nother) private lesson. It was so much fun. I passed on some important tricks. Even though his culinary school instructors might tell him something different. Or they won't tell him at all. It's ok, he's going to come to my custards class.
Dave invites me to interesting food events. He has a lot of friends. A few weeks ago his friend Matt was having a superbowl party I was invited to:
"come over for a special HD viewing of "saved by the bell" i think it starts 3-3:30pm or maybe we'll just watch the superbowl .i will be making gumbo or chili, or pot roast, or mac and cheese, or brisket, or maybe all of the above .i will be dressed in purple in honor of prince .perhaps mcmanliness will grace us with his buffalo wings again, or maybe tom ka gai
if you have already watched your one requisite sporting event this year, we will have a room devoted studying for graduate degrees.
i'm sure A. will manage to inject some kind craft project into this whole affair again - probably sewing or silk screening .all food and drink welcome .long live screech."
"Well, it's time to wrap dumplings and boil water and overeat and celebrate the Lunar New Year. Appropriately, it's the year of the PIG - so be ready to wrap & stuff yourselves silly. Y'all know the drill. Bring your appetites, and BYOB if you're planning on not having what's in the keg.
** Rest assurred, while it is the year of the pig, there will be a trio of dumplings fixings available: pork, shrimp, & veggie."
We got to the house near 6, had a quick dumpling making lesson, and set to work. Of course our gracious host made her dumplings quick and perfectly finessed. Just like the frozen ones on Clement Street. Three bowls of aromatic fillings sat on the table. We used chopsticks for scooping out little dollops and then we pinch-sealed uniformly, trying to make them look like anything other than empanadas.
I like my hands learning new things. Especially with a silly friend. We each folded and shaped and tried to learn from the other. Much laughter ensued. Conversation was sparse as we all concentrated on our foreign feeling task.
It always reminds me of knitting. How frustrating the awkward motions for knit and purl were before all of me caught up with getting the hang of it. The throwing down of the needles, the dropped stitches, the scarf filled with errors that tugged the garment this way and that, nothing continuous, nothing flowingly easy.
Body memory is a powerful thing. Like riding a bike, or tying a shoe, or rolling out pie dough.
Teach your hands and the rest will follow. Teach your 5 senses and they are the ones that will remember how something should feel, smell, taste, look, sound.
A small table of red and clear and brown liquids were available for mix & match dumpling sauce creating. Chopped cilantro, hollow round slices of scallion and peeled ground fresh ginger accessorized. Three pots sat on the stove for segregating dumpling types. Steam coated the windows, conversation was friendly and upbeat. Hungry people lurked in the kitchen with empty bowls in hand and ate the various Chinese ravioly as they floated to the top of roiling pots. The freshly boiled dumpling were as wily and just caught fish. I made a concession and ate them with my fingers.
Dave made a small bowl of my butterscotch pudding. Innovative piggy cupcakes were unfurled, the house filled with friends and strangers. I left with a bag of lemons from the host's little but sagging Meyer Lemon bush.
Adventures are so much fun. Especially when they involve new friends and new-food-making activities!