According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar this year their Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated in September and many of my regular students were on holiday. Here is an interesting site called ChineseTools. It has some resources that can be helpful for non-Chinese to understand Chinese culture.
This past week, one of my students, Vivian, her husband Patrick and their son Thomas came to the U.S. to explore the east coast cities of New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. They spent two nights at my place, hiking the first day and venturing into NYC on the second day. Here are some of the highlights of their visit.
Near the end of the first day, Vivian offered to cook some Chinese food. I was excited to have authentic Chinese food here at home! We went to the store and purchased all of the items needed for the meal. Some of the vegetables were available from my garden.
Braised Spare Ribs (pork) with Ginger
Chicken with Cashews
Pork with Spicy Peppers
also an Egg Drop style Soup with Fresh Tomato
…and can you believe it? I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures of the food!
[*** added 10/4/2013 — Vivian contacted me and made a correction to my article. It was pork and not chicken we had with the spicy peppers. I have amended the text. Here is the Chinese name for the items we ate:
My translation software says it this way; stewed pork ribs, Tsim Sha Tsui and meat, cashew nuts sweet pepper chicken
She also shared a picture that Patrick took…..
now it seems I am having a problem loading it to the blog…I will continue to work on it. Stay tuned.] Updated — 10/15. Fixed it! Thank goodness for Dropbox! I was able to transfer the picture to Dropbox and then load it here.
Everything was delicious and it was interesting for me to watch Vivian in the kitchen. While she cooked and I assisted her with small tasks we talked. I wanted to know how she learned to cook so well. From my culinary background I observed that her knife skills were quite good. She told me that she learned to cook from her mother and grandmother….adding later that her grandmother was a very good cook! We all enjoyed the delicious feast with a nice bottle of Bordeaux, Vintage 2000. The wine stood well against the spice and complex flavors of the menu.
Patrick and Vivian were surprised at how much Mom could eat!
On Thursday, we went into the city. Patrick needed to gas up and drop off the rental car. Fortunately, the hotel provided an option to store luggage, even though check-in time is 3:00 PM. We set out for a lunch break and then off to catch the Circle Line Cruise on the Hudson River. The Tour Guide, Dave who spoke entertainingly about the history of NYC, highlighted many of the key points of interest along the route and gave a thorough presentation with often amusing details. His commentary alone is worth the admission cost!
As we pulled away from the ship’s berth we view the Empire State Building and the High-Line walkway. The High -Line is one of many efforts in the city to turn run-down areas into park and open space. Dave informs us of two interesting points, both of which I was unaware; #1 by 2050 the entire shoreline of the island of Manhattan will be park space and #2 the Empire State Building, 102 stories and long ago the tallest building in the world, will look like a seedling in a forest of super-skyscrapers!
Some more pictures from along the harbor route:
After the cruise we headed for the “Top of the Rock“. This is the observation deck of the GE Building at 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. 70 stories high the GE Building (also designed in the Art-Deco style of architecture) falls short of the Empire State Building by more than 30 floors. The GE Building offers a slightly different perspective of the city skyline too.
Sadly, the day went by too quickly. Young Thomas was exhausted from all of the excitement and a 5:00 AM wake up time. We decided to skip eating dinner and end the day. I wished Vivian and Patrick safe travels for the remainder of their journey and waved good-bye. As I walked across town to catch a return bus, I reflected on what a lovely time we shared. It was great to meet another of my students and her family too! Thanks to both Patrick and Vivian for the wonderful time and their very enjoyable company. Talk soon…