Sweets

THE PINEAPPLE BUNS/PO LO BAO

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“THEY HAUNTED ME LIKE THE SWEETEST NIGHTMARE”

I want to begin today by saying, “I’m sorry, Kelly.  I sidetracked.”

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me an earnest suggestion saying that ever since she lost contact with one of her beloved things to eat, the curry beef buns from Chinese bakeries, that she has missed it dearly, and that it may fit eloquently into this humble blog of mine because from what it seems (and she’s right), that I’d love me some curry, too.  Oh yes, Kelly.  Oh you have no idea, curry and me are like this.  We tight.  However… even though we spent a substantial amount of keyboarding discussing those mysterious curry beef buns, two other relatively mundane words that she brought up amidst the conversion haunted me like the sweetest nightmare and chased away everything else.

Wait, did you say… pineapple buns?

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INSIDE-OUT BLACK SESAME STICKY RICE BALLS

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“SO WHAT DOES
THE LETTER ‘Q’ TASTE LIKE?”

I.  Love.  This.  Stuff.

Everybody, girls especially, who has or shares an Asian background, loves this stuff.  This stuff is so popular it’s practically in the freezer section in every respectable Asian grocery stores, big or small.  This stuff is so unstoppable, that although originally meant to be eaten on a single Chinese holiday only, now is enjoyed all year round.  People look for excuses to eat this stuff.  Given that it’s warm, soft and sweet, it’s a comfort food for the mentally wounded.  But then again, given that it’s a circle which symbolizes “wholeness” and “content”, it’s a must-item in Chinese weddings, too.  Boyfriend dumped you, you eat this stuff.  Getting hitched, you eat this stuff.  You see what I mean?

This stuff is called tang-yuan (literally soup-circles), aka sticky rice balls.

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THE SAUCY MARRIAGE PUDDING

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“VALENTINES, STEP ASIDE.
THIS IS PROFESSIONAL LOVE LIFE”

I was born a cynic.

I mean was that not obvious?  Had I been able to remember I’d say with certainty that I came in this world, a genetically negative and unpleasant baby who cursed at the color pink if she could form words, who went on to earnestly suggest divorce as an alternative lifestyle for her parents at age five.  Perhaps the last ounce of my lacking fluffiness died with the moment when my best friend stuffed Raccoon was brutally trashed in a random afternoon while I was away citing ABC’s at pre-school, the last straw in leaving a cold, hardened human being walking this lonely planet believing that all loves are, ultimately, just temporary.  So yes, I was born with, and still have now, a good faith in cynicism.

But somehow at the age of 27, I married my very first boyfriend.  How did that happen?

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MOLTEN-CHOCO BANANA BREAD

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“CHOCO RIVER… WIDER THAN A MILE”

Today is the third day of the week-long CNY holiday in China, a festive time when binge-eating isn’t only allowed, but mandatory.  Implementing any calorie restriction and self-control during this high festivity, implies unlikable things about one person – uptight, fun-less, possibly anorexic and most of all, non-cool.  So to celebrate such excess in order to demonstrate that I’m a spirited team-player who’s got some very down-to-earth thighs to prove it, I was going to show my A-game compliance.  Only until I realized that it’s a little tricky to come up with things to eat…

When I’m under some sorta house arrest.

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EMERGENCY SKILLET COOKIE

“Sometimes a moment wasted
IN COOKIE-DELIVERY…
IS LIFE AND DEATH”

Anxiety… do you know about anxiety?

The type that feels like there’s an expanding hot water balloon pressing against my soft parts.  The type that pumps up the pressure on every cubic-inch of air in the space that I gaspingly occupy.  A clinching cast-iron ranch over my lungs that tightens, and then tightens… efforts to breathe muzzled by the air-pressure that squeezes, and just squeezes… neglecting the urgency of a piping hot water balloon in my chest that is screeeeeeching desperately to expand, and EXPAND…

… until, as we all know what happens when you force a ballon, that it just “BAP!”.  Fluids of boiling emotions mixed with bloody lumps of raw angst, splattering so violently against the four white walls of my confinement.  Even the maddeningly slow motion in which they dribble down, by contrast, fuels my raging urge to scream.

All of which, is playing out silently and discreetly behind an expression-less front of a woman, typing calmly in front of her computer.

Anxiety.

I mean I need a cookie like right now.

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BA-DA ‘BINGS’

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There’s a Chinese saying that goes “A loser in love, a winner in casinos.”  It simply means that the good fortune you lack in one aspect in life will be compensated in others.

Well… it’s total bullshit.  Just like all Chinese superstitions are.

But having said that, it would leave my current streak of grand slams over an age-old kitchen nemesis – at a time when my every other single happiness in life seems to be throwing themselves under a train – completely unexplained.  I mean, lay… layers?  Is that you?  Have you come back to see me?  A predicted failure in my first attempt to replicate an iconic staple in northern China, came not as anticipated but instead, a smashing, success.

Ladies and gents, may I introduce you, the explosively layered… bing.

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BLUEBERRY SLAB-MUFFIN FRENCH TOAST

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Actually… I was saving this post for another time.  Because first of all, something borderline “sweet” and similarly “French-toasty” had already taken the space next door.  And secondly, it hasn’t exactly left yet.  Yeah, so to avoid the suspicion of repetition, I was going to let this one ferment in my draft-box for a bit until you turn bubbly and matured for it.

However… shit happened.

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THE NONSENSICAL HOT PEPPERCORN PEANUT BRITTLE

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They say that comedy is tragedy plus time.  They say that there’s a very thin line, separating laughter and pain… humor and hurt.  Sounds like comedy is just an accidental kid of the abusive reality-junkie mom called life, trying hysterically to grow up as sane and functional as possible, maybe go to college, trying to make sense of it all like we all are, by drinking pain as fuel for jokes.

Well, if all that is true, there’s nothing funnier… than telling stories about a dead pet.

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