Monthly Archives: May 2012

Winner, winner, chicken dinner – part 2

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Gotta be honest, it’s difficult to channel the Asian spirit and write about living in GZ when I’m in the US. Never expected to feel this way but I’ll give this a shot.

Two weeks ago after a Chinese lesson I asked Ben to take me to the wet market. I was going with the intention to buy one thing and that was the most amazing asparagus I have ever eaten! We had had it for dinner the night before and it was so good I was going to pick up another bundle. Somehow along the way in the 10 minutes that it took to get there I was corralled into buying a live chicken, so off we went to buy my first live chicken. Now that’s not to say it was alive when I brought it home, but I did choose a chicken that was flapping its wings and eyeing me up when I paid for it.  I think that the chicken lady was surprised that I was even there. Her helper brought one out of the coop (I could see them in their cages) and Ben gave the nod of approval. We walked around for a few minutes while I hunted down the asparagus and bought a few other things along the way. I was told to marinate it in a little Chinese cooking wine and a flavor packet that I bought and use my rice cooker (who knew?). After about 10 minutes we returned to the stall and there the chicken was all plucked but with everything else in tact. She gutted it and then asked if I wanted the feet and the head cut off. There was a tiny Chinese grandma standing next to me and nodding with approval when I gave the go-ahead to cut them off. I think she just wanted my leavings :-). $6 and a plastic bag later I had my first REALLY, REALLY fresh chicken.

Ben came into the house to explain in detail how to cook the chicken (my rice cooker didn’t come with English instructions) and he put the chicken bag on the counter. We chatted and after he left I picked up the bag to put it in the fridge. The contents were warm! That caught me off guard. Every other time I picked up chicken to put it away it was cold. This was warm!

After checking the weight (it was a whopping 1.75 pounds), I took it out of the bag to give it its recommended shower. It was the cleanest chicken I have ever bought. There was not a single “thing” that needed to be trimmed, cut out, or plucked. I marinated the chicken as directed and turned my rice cooker into a chicken cooker. When Ben picked Anders up at work he was grinning and assured Anders that he was going to have a proper Chinese chicken dinner. He’s so glad to have someone who is interested in Chinese life and I’m just as happy to be that person.

Verdict? It was delicious but next time I’ll buy two!

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Off to America!

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So sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been busy. Not sure what I’ve been busy doing but I have been busy! Anders had a 4-day weekend and we got out and about.

We are off tomorrow for the US and will be there for 2 weeks. We’re going to see Andrew’s last school stage production – break a leg! Then we go to VA to spend time with Kiersten and Steven. I hope to ride her new horse. And back again to NYC to finish our trip by watching Andrew graduate from NYU at Yankee Stadium! That is a milestone for Andrew, Anders, and me. Woohoo!!! I fully expect to return to GZ 5 pounds heavier. That’s OK because it’s already sultry here and when it’s so hot I can’t eat much.

I did want to mention something that struck me in the past week. On Friday Anders and I went out to dinner with 2 people who are in GZ. T is here on a 6-month assignment, I don’t know how she’ll say goodbye after only 6 months, and L who will be moving here with his family this summer. We also met up with some PA friends on Monday who will be moving this summer so it was their first time in GZ. When I asked what their impressions were the first thing they all said was how friendly the local people are! No surprise here but I am glad to know that it’s not just my Pollyanna outlook.

I will try to write at least 2 posts while I’m away. I bought a live chicken at the market last week and that was fun. I also managed to drag Anders out again on one of his days off. Like our Tomb Sweeping Day adventure he didn’t really want to go but did. In the end we both had a fabulous time and I discovered yet another treasure near GZ to take friends and family.

The current temp is only 78°. We had a wild T-storm roll through about 30 minutes ago and the temp dropped from 92° to 72° in about 5 minutes. There was also hail and it’s the second time in 1 1/2 weeks that we’ve had hail. I you like T-storms April and May is the time to come here. It’s the rainy season and the weather can be sunny and in an hour it’ll change to downpours. Ben told us they locals call it “baby face” weather because it changes as fast as a baby’s face. (we got soaked on our outing which is why he told us about it :-))

Cheers!

PS – Some day I’m going to write “people who” and not “people that”. I get corrected EVERY time I write it!