Thursday, February 24, 2011

Celebrating 10 years of Marriage

Ten years ago on February 24th, the Cowboy and I tied the knot, became Mr. & Mrs.

To remember and celebrate, here's Susan Marr Spalding’s poem FATE, which was read at our wedding:

Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart,
And speak in different tongues and have no thought
Each of the other’s being, and have no heed;
And these, o’er unknown seas, to unknown lands
Shall cross, escaping wreck, defying death; And all unconsciously shape every act
And bend each wandering step to this one end—
That one day out of darkness they shall meet
And read life’s meaning in each other’s eyes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A friend I've never met & arm-chair travels to exotic kitchens

I've a confession to make: I'm at heart a techno-phobe. My sister bullied and bribed me into trying Facebook, my hubby insisted having a cellphone (a charged and functioning one) was a safety issue, and, after surviving those experiences, I got brave and ventured onto Twitter.

At first I was completely lost. Thankgoodness I found Cheryl Tan and her #LetsLunch bunch, a group of food enthusiasts from all over the world, who come together to share recipes, stories, friendship and virtual lunch in cyberspace. They helped me not only settle into Twitterverse, but have fun doing it. They're also the reason this blog exists.

Cheryl Tan

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with their words, food and passions. They've become my go-to-sources on recipes and food advice. If one of them is having a bad day, I take the time to send an encouraging tweet. If one of them has something to celebrate, I add my tweet of congratulations to the pile. In other words, even though we've never met, I consider Cheryl & the #LetsLunch bunch my friends.

Cheryl's debut book, A Tiger in the Kitchen, came out earlier this month. The story is about her journey back to Singapore to reconnect with her family through a year of cooking and collecting recipes and stories.

Being a woman who straddles two cultures(born and brought up in Bangladesh and now making a home in West Texas),I had to read the book. And her publisher was kind enough to send me a copy. As I started reading, I traveled to the New York fashion scene, to a Singaporean funeral, to the kitchens of women half-way across the world. What a journey!

The San Angelo Standard-Times was kind enough to let me write a review.

To Cheryl: May there be more stories, more friends, and more feasting.

To learn more about Cheryl, check out her blog.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with the Cowboy & Kids in West Texas

My #Letslunch pals picked Lucky Foods for February and I jumped into the project with 100 percent enthusiasm. I figured I’d use the opportunity to interview my friend Rose Ng, who owns a successful Chinese restaurant in our community, and get some insight on the Chinese New Year. Well, I did that and it turned into a cool The Family Table column.

But along the way, the Cowboy and both kids, got into it too. On Thursday, Feb 3, the first day in the year of the Rabbit our entire family wore red. I sent them out of the house with a wave and Gung hay fat choy!

That weekend, the kids and I decorated the chandelier.

After we were done, my son looked up and spied the Made in China and stickers. Eyes wide, he turned to me and announced, “They really are from China!”

For dinner, I adapted a recipe for Long Life Noodles shared by Rose. You can find the recipe at the end of the column (see above link).

First I got all the ingredients ready.

Yes, the kids questioned the Chineseness of the pasta, but it's whole wheat and better for them. However, next time I'm using red bell peppers for more color rather than yellow. I also doubled the soy sauce and oyster sauce amounts. And added Shrimp...because I love them, and they are a sign of happiness.

My 6-year-old suddenly decided she didn’t like noodles (though any other day that’s one of the top favorites). So I told them that the Chinese believed in leaving the noodles long as a wish for long life for all the people at the table. “You can’t cut the noodles, but instead you have to try and eat them long,” I added. Suddenly, both kids presented their plates to be filled.

Later, my son asked if the Chinese really believed that long noodles could lead to a long life. I gave him Rose’s explanation: the Chinese believe in symbols and signs. Having a visual representation of your hopes, make them that much closer to reality.

For dessert, we had oranges, which symbolize good health, wealth and good fortune.

After dinner we lit the candles and turned off the lights. The kids had a blast spotting animals in the shadows thrown against the ceiling. Both spotted rabbits, one spotted an alligator and another a cowboy on his horse among other things. The Cowboy and I enjoyed glasses of wine in front of the fire.

My lucky meal did bring good times to the table.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Cowboy & I Cook for Valentine's

The Cowboy and I have a special tradition: we celebrate Valentine's by throwing a party at our local soup kitchen.

Love and food are basic human needs. So what better way to celebrate our love than working together on a project to bring love and food, served with joy and verve, to more than a hundred of our homeless and working poor.

The plus side is we avoid the stiff competion for reservations and long waits at crowded restaurants.

Yes, we do fall into a bone-tired heap at the end of it all...but it's usually in the hot tub with glasses of wine or bottles of beer and each other. A pretty happy ending, by all accounts.

And, best of all, our love grows stronger, deeper, having worked side by side at the soup kitchen and being surrounded by love all day.

You can read about all the great plans for the 2011 Peace Ambassadors' Valentine's Lunch (our sixth) in this article.

To see pictures and stories from last year, click the San Angelo Standard-Times' link.

If you're able to help out in any way, we'd love to have you join us!
Happy Valentine's Y'all!