Cooking for Guests

I WANT TO CRY.

Today was supposed to be my menu planning day.  Well it is 1:24pm, and here I am, with my bowl of macaroni and cheese, and wondering “What in the world do real adults want to eat?!” and “How am I supposed to make it?!”

Seriously.  Rotisserie chickens and salad, I’m coming for you.

What else?

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of really good food blogs about Hong Kong style food in ENGLISH.  I’ve been thinking about it from time to time, because that is what I grew up on, and now I feel like I have little way of replicating it.  I’ve asked my mom to PLEASE write a recipe book with the stuff she makes for Daddy.  My mom is very health-conscious, especially because my grandparents on both sides have diabetes, and my father has high blood pressure.  This means that everything she makes is low on sugar and salt, two things that are difficult to come by in modern cooking, I think.  We love sugar, and we love salt, and who can blame us?  I can’t say her food is the tastiest food I have ever had, and it would probably never survive in a restaurant setting, but it is home-cooking in all its authenticity and comfort.  Where do you find that?  Not at an expensive Yelper approved restaurant, and probably not on the Internet.  Mother is not tech-savvy, and I suspect many other mothers are the same.  In an age where anything less than a 4.5 star rating makes me wonder if I should even bother trying to cook it, sometimes it’s easier to just get things straight from the source without hearing other’s critiques.  And in an age where anything with a 4.5 star rating often includes heavy whipping cream and other ingredients I don’t have, well….. anyway.  I exaggerate.  The point is.  Mom’s recipes would never make it on the Internet in the way recipes are rated today–primarily by taste–but they make it in the way they make me feel after I eat them.  Healthy and nourished.  Sometimes, the combinations are plumb strange.  Mom has taught me that anything goes, as long as it’s good for the body.  Does it have vitamins?  Does it have protein?  Does it have calcium or is it good for your eyes?  Will it ward off a UTI?  Then you eat it, even if it tastes like liver, or IS liver.  Does it fit in your mouth and is it packed with antioxidants?  Then we’ll fit it in a salad.  Dear Mom, I hope you never see this.

I still aspire to someday be able to churn out amazing tasting food and chop veggies razor thin at lightning speed and be able to survive an episode of Chopped with random and sabotaged ingredients, but seriously, if I could just be like my mom and feed a family of four every day with fresh, healthy food and make it look EASY, that would be pretty awesome too.

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The Kondo Method

I finally finished the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Marie Kondo is crazy!  I respect her, and she knows her tidying stuff, but I find myself unable to achieve her kind of perfection in tidying.  There is somewhat of a cult-like following of her method, and I can totally see why.  Maybe if I lived in a different universe, I would be in on it too.  But here are my reasons why I cannot employ the KonMari method of tidying.

  1. Anxiety.  What is this “spark of joy” she talks about?  To start tidying, I picked up a fairly easy shirt that I loved.  I did feel some joy.  But after that, with each additional piece of clothing, I started just feeling anxiety.  What if the next shirt I pick up doesn’t spark joy, and I have to get rid of it?  What if I really like that shirt?  For those of us with mood problems that are heavy overriders of other emotions, something as ethereal as a spark of joy may be hard to come by.
  2. Money.  I feel like you have to be decently well off to have the luxury to simply abandon clothing based on the amount of joy it gives you without a shred of worry.  Or maybe this brings me back to #1.  Anyway.  I have a set of clothes that I use for interviews.  Frankly, I don’t think any of those clothes will spark joy.  They are boring and blah, but they are professional.  Currently, I am not working in a professional field, but I can’t afford to get rid of them to buy new ones that do spark joy when interview time comes around.  The same goes for fine merino wool sweaters that are in bright colors which I bought using points.  I probably will never wear them without a jacket over them, but I can’t imagine tossing it away and having to buy a new wool sweater when I go to a colder climate.  Mom always said I had expensive tastes.  The items I wanted always ended up being the more expensive ones, even when I did not know the price ahead of time.  If I judged everything by whether it sparked joy or not, seriously, I would be spending too much.  Happiness here cannot be the measurement for everything.  Throughout the book, Marie makes the argument that if you end up needing something later, you can always buy it.  I suppose if you’re free from care about the past or future, then you wouldn’t worry about whether or not you’d even be able to later.  I get it, but I can’t totally embrace it.
  3. Sensitivity to soft materials.  Marie Kondo’s method is all about handling the clothes.  I am, however, predisposed to soft fabrics.  I love the feel of anything soft, and my roommates will tell you about how I used to carry my pajamas up to my face as I went to shower for the night.  My pajamas include an oversized Google shirt and gym shorts. Marie Kondo suggests “If you are a woman, wear something feminine and elegant as nightwear. The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit. If sweat pants are your every day attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact on your self image.”  But I love soft fabrics, and sweat suits are generally softer than feminine and elegant things.  And cheaper (See #2.)  OK, this is definitely taking her out of context, as her point is really that we shouldn’t downgrade clothes that do not spark joy into loungewear.   I’ll give her that.

So there you have it.  I feel like this method is kind of an all or nothing method, so it’s stressing me out a bit.  I’m going through my clothes, and we’ll see how I do.  Maybe instead of looking for the spark of joy, I’ll just have to use other tidying methods.  I was looking forward to the book, based on the reviews, but seriously?  Tidying is not the purpose of my life.  Marie Kondo, and I say this with as much respect and admiration as I can possibly convey, is, crazy.  You’re pretty awesome.  I think I will leave the awesomeness to you.

//edit//

OK, closet partially tackled.  I have to admit, I’m surprised by the sheer volume of clothing I stuffed into drawers, never to be seen again.  Maybe there’s something to this, after all.  But STILL.  I will provide myself with exceptions.

 

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes.

Recently I’ve been going through a shopping craze.  And by that I mean, adding things to a shopping cart online and not going through with it after reading reviews from the BBB.  I mean browsing through hundreds of pictures of dresses and inspiration.  I mean sending pictures to my friends and hubby and asking them what they think.  I mean wondering what my skin tone is, whether it’s warm yellow and cool yellow.  It’s UGH time consuming.  Stop being so glamorous, fashion bloggers!

This is going to be a lot of rambling, and not in the least bit interesting, just warning you.

So I recently bought a bag from ThredUp because my bag finally lost its magnetic clasp to the wind somewhere at the school I work for.  Of course it did.  I’m so glad I have a work hoodie that I wear everyday because it’s been a few weeks and it already has highlighter and who knows what else all over it.  Anyway, back to the purse.  So I’m kind of excited cause I got a great deal on it, and it should be in “excellent” condition even though it’s secondhand.  But here’s the thing, I’m also worried people will judge me for the brand (Am I the judgmental one?  Oh dear) and think I spent hundreds of dollars on a purse.  So there I was, weighing these things, debating whether I should get a purse.  UGH.  BUT I also read that the quality is actually better with these expensive branded bags, and they can last you a long time, versus my bags my relatives get me from Asia which start shedding fabric chips after a year or so.  (I love you Mom and Auntie and all the bags you’ve ever gotten me I promise!)  The thing is, if I get something that lasts, that means I’m also kind of stuck with it for awhile.  This could be either a good or bad thing.  A day or so later, I found another purse that looked really cute, and I started to regret that I didn’t wait.  I know, the drama.

Next up in life as an adult– need to identify the bug that has been biting me in my sleep.  I’m so scared!  And looking up answers on the internet makes it worse because there are so many gross pictures.

Pretty pictures of tulips instead of bugs found here.

Cooking Subscription Boxes

My friends all know that I love those subscription boxes that send you food and a recipe to go with it. I’ve tried so many, mainly because there’s often a deal involved which makes it worth it for me. A few of my friends have asked me which one is my favorite, and it’s always a long response. I’ll share about each one I’ve tried in the coming week.

Plated
HelloFresh
GreenChef
Gobble
Freshly
HandPicked
Din.co
Sun Basket

I Should Have Read the Reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/Crest-Pro-Health-Clinical-Clean-Rinse/dp/B008I2IKF4/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1393833927&sr=1-1&keywords=crest+pro-health+clinical+rinse

 

What the.  I should have done what I usually do and read the reviews before buying.  Four cankersores later and a burned tongue, my mouth is dying inside and eating is so painful.  And it’s all because I was trying to help my other cankersores on my inside lip heal.  The irony. And the worst part is, it looks like I’m not the only one.  What is this product still doing on the shelves?  Why?

Must call and complain.  Seriously.

On a more philosophical note, I guess if most people have had a similar experience, it’s probably a good bet that you will have that experience as well.  That is so disappointing.