Saturday, December 17, 2011


I was intending to write a post about likable rats living on Russian Hill, and their relationship with a small human person, some snarky crows, a lazy cat, and a raccoon down in the alley. But unfortunately I got side-tracked.

A petite Cantonese American woman is to blame for this.

That being my roommate and erstwhile significant other.

You see, there have been problems with her boyfriend lately, and their relationship is now on the rocks.
It's a sudden development.
I don't know how I feel about that. I hate seeing her miserable and I want her to have a good life.
But him, eh............., if him and his wheelchair were to accidentally roll into the bay, it would not be so great a loss.
Honestly, there is no part of me that would grieve for him.
He's made the poor woman cry too much over the past several months.
I hate her being so unhappy.
She deserves much better.

Her kinfolk picked her up for dinner around teatime today. Until then I had tried to be comforting, while wondering what was next.
Our relationship ended well over a year ago, and both of us have moved on.
I would be lying if I didn't say that in my opinion Wheelie Boy was a selfish opportunist, while simultaneously admitting that my perspective necessarily is horribly biased. So, because it could be interpreted as ulterior-motivated and due to a private agenda, I shall refrain from uttering criticism about the man in her presence for the time being.
She needs an understanding ear, not snippy opinions.
She remained considerate, decent, and ethical throughout our own breakup, so trying to be a gentleman and a true friend is the least I can do.
And it's essential, too. A matter of pride and self-respect. Hers and mine.
I really want to see her smile again.

Anyhow, she's eating dinner with relatives tonight, and now that she has become more open about her life they'll probably be getting quite an earful. Good. After over two decades of hiding everything so as not to hurt them or cause discord within the family, it's damned well about time that they realized that Savage Kitten is a flesh-and-blood woman, with emotions, issues, and a life of her own. They should have been more aware.
And, truth be told, she could have been more trusting of their tolerance.
Or leastways far less indulgent of Chinese American sensitivities.
Let's just say that old-country social dynamics bite both ways.


I left shortly after Savage Kitten's brother picked her up, and went down to one of my favourite Chinatown restaurants - the place with the waitress who has beautiful hands. She's a small woman, with an intelligent pretty face, and a sweet quirky personality.
Unfortunately she's married - there's a band on one of her fingers.
Yes, I would notice that. Pretty hands, remember?
Still. Nice voice, kind eyes.

I have no intention of ever divulging the name of the establishment.
If you're a man, I do not want you either poaching on my territory or being baffled at what I'm ranting on about (by reason of your own singular lack of appreciation for nice women), and if you’re a woman, you might feel either jealous (because she has such nice hands and eyes), or contemptuous (because like the man you should probably end up with you have no idea whatsoever about feminine beauty).

Dinner was most enjoyable.
Pretty hands and sparkling eyes are a wonderful condiment.

Stir-fried kailan with codfish, and a bowl of rice.

The stalks of kailan had a wonderful snappy crunch to them, perfectly cooked - a clean flavoured and delicately savoury dish geared to improve one's outlook and make a person glad to be alive. The trick to combining fish pieces and vegetables is to actually cook each separately to a not-yet-done stage, then to combine them in the wok for a brief and flamboyant blaze of glory.
Beforehand, the stalks of kailan should be blanched quickly in boiling water, the fish pieces soaked a few seconds in whisked egg-white and cornstarch so that they remain firm when stirfried. By thus doing the two main ingredients separately you prevent the fish from fragmenting in the pan and either component from being overcooked. The combination over high heat, with a touch of moisture added at the right moment, is a short sweet finish.
The adept cook inspires the food with wok hei (鍋氣) - unified season and perfection imparted by skill and a super-hot pan.
Such a dish does not, like many similar combinations, require either fermented black beans and garlic, or a tangy sauce. It is excellent on its own.
Fresh firm fish. Crisp kailan stalks. And a friendly smile.

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