Friday, January 30, 2009

The Motherlode - Do I want a "Marian Robinson"?

JW had sent me a link for an article on the Motherlode (NYT magazine blog on Parenting). I was distracted from reading the linked article when this other item caught my eye. I belong comfortably in the "if-my-mother-is-willing-to-be-my-"Marian Robinson",-I-will-gladly-have-her" camp. (Incidentally the f parental unit is arriving, yahoooo!!!!)

I think that the whole angst around the "Marian Robinson" effect has more to do with this culture (meaning US). In the Old country, grandparents expect to spend some time caring for their grandkids. The family unit is closer and in most cases, stronger. People don't tend to move too far away though that is beginning to change. (I see a lot of my friends lighting up the globe now.) I have seen that in the US, there is a bit of a struggle between "living life to the fullest" and "tending to the young." This generation of grandparents are globe-trotting and social clubbing bunch. They have way too much to do to devote whole weekends or summers to the little ones.

On the one hand, I at times am saddened that the kids only see Gmom once a week when it's convenient. However I can see it from her point of view as well. She is young and have spent most of her life, saving and worrying about her kids. Her kids are now grown. This is her time. I get this. This is more likely the model of my own senior years.

But what about the family? I am used to a wide web of family, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc (though my own family is not that big). More and more, I have had to redefine family as my own nuclear unit. Which though wonderful can be at times lacking in the noise and affection that comes with a larger network of loved ones.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The big "S" conversation

I saw this online today and found it hilarious. It's a short documentary about adults recounting how they were told about sex and where babies come from. The result is Kinda Sutra.

Personally I don't think I ever recalled being told about it.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

New site for Toddler learning

I have been roaming the net for site that will help teach kids. Fun sites with games and I have found a couple.

(I am in the midst of updating the blog look and feel, so stay tuned. All of these links will be kept in one place soon.)

For the little kids (around 2-4 years old) - the World of Victor

Cute site with simple fun activities exploring animals, puzzles and music.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Culinary Classes @ICE

In a burst of inspiration, I decided to sign up for a Chinese cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). A short background - though I have been cooking for years now, I felt that I am a hit-or-miss kind of a cook. There have been moments of culinary brilliance and then there have been moments when most of what I've made end up in the trash. Trashy moments usually happen when I decide to veer off the recipe or the tried-and-true method.

So I thought to sign up for Chinese cooking to get myself some good basic skills. I knew about ICE from a friend who works there and another friend who have taken classes there. Both have raving reviews. So I tried it.

I loved it. It was great. Under the tutelage of Chef Lillian Chou (former food editor at Gourmet Magazine), I learned to fold a dumpling (I know that I must be the only Chinese woman who doesn't know how to fold one properly), stir fry and steam. A small chunk of the class was about seasoning a wok. Though I have read about this before, I have never done it. Seasoning not only embeds flavor into the wok but makes the cooking surface pretty non-stick. I haven't tried this out yet, but stay tuned.

The recipes were good. We were taught to make a basic chicken stock, rice balls (meatballs with rice around it), velvet scallops with snap peas, soy sauce chicken, wontons, potstickers, steamed sea bass and more. The ingredients are top notch. The scallops were huge as were the shrimp and sea bass. The chef did a great job showing us the basics from washing rice, checking freshness of fish, etc. These are the few things I actually know but it would be a great class for beginners.

I loved that the recipes were of things that I would actually make. There is another Chinese cooking class in the roster that was more for Chinese take out. How many ways can I say "bleh" to that?

A new discovery for me was water chestnuts. I thought I hated water chestnuts. It always seemed to taste bland and metallic. Whenever I see it in a dish, I would do my best to steer clear of it. She brought in fresh water chestnuts which we peeled and ate raw. It was actually good, sort of stronger tasting pear. Wow. So wow that I snuck one out to give to the kids. They loved it and wanted more.

After the flurry of cooking, everyone assembles for the meal that we prepared with bottles of wine. What a way to spend a weekend.

Postscript - It has been 2 weeks since the class and I think my kids are enjoying the results. I have been making my own stock, working on the perfect slurry, using different combinations. Cooking is a work in progress but I am enjoying it more now than I did before. I am now on the hunt for the next class. Maybe Korean or Indian. Anyone interested?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

Where am I? at work. I wish I could be in Washington DC today despite the freezing temperatures. The excitement is palpable. I wish I were there.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My girl in an affectionate mood




The girls were just roughhousing tonight. I thought that it was so sweet that they are often (though not always) naturally affecionate towards each other.
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