Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese New Year

Last Wednesday was Chinese New Year. This is the year of the Mouse. I did not blog about it because it did not turn out so great. On reflection of the week, however, it makes a good story.

There was a big party at Chinese Joans. The party was potluck, with everyone bringing their favorite Chinese dish. Or actually, everyone bringing the Chinese dish that they thought they could make the best. As it turns out, the party is a contest to see who can make the BEST Chinese dish.

We made Mu Shu Pork. I pulled a recipe from the internet. Then we went to the store to see what we could buy that would be close. We could not get rice wine, or sesame oil, or bamboo shoots, or Hoisin sauce. I could not get pork shoulder either last week, so I bought pork ribs and cut the meat into strips. I did get Bok Choy, mushrooms, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and Apricot Duck Sauce.

Mu Shu Pork is like a Chinese burrito. The recipe called for a marinade of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and rice wine. You can not get Soy Sauce here, but we had someone bring us some from Provo a few weeks ago, so we have that. For the rice wine, I substituted Port and some other sweet liquor that was in the house from the last occupant. The marinade sat overnight.

On Wednesday evening I made the Mu Shu. Martin, Lucas, and I spent about two hours making pancakes. I made dough from pancake mix. Rolled out, this was cut into small circles, rolled very thin, and then Martin pan fried them. I used all of the pancake batter and had no flour to roll the dough out. Just like the 1950s, I had to go to our neighbors and borrow flour from one neighbor, and a rolling pin from another neighbor. After each pancake was done, Lucas wiped it with the Duck Sauce, filled it, and rolled it. They turned out great.

The party was fun. There were probably 60 expats there; 20 or 25 dishes. A very nice candied walnut and shrimp over crispy noodles tied for third, a soup I did not even know was there came in second, and the spring rolls came in fourth. On the way home Martin said, "not even in the top four. Dad you are letting me down." Well I was disappointed too. I thought we should have won.

During the party, Davis tried to pet a dog who was running around the house. The dog growled and snapped at him. Later, as Davis was just walking past, the dog jumped and bit him on the leg. He had one very deep penetration just below his knee. This kind of ruined the party for him. He was ready to go at that point, but leaving became awkward. We waited until the results of the food contest were read and then left at about 10:00.

There are no rabies on the island, but we were concerned that Davis had his tetanus shot updated. On Thursday we spent the morning waiting on my mom to get a hold of Dr. Horn's office to get the dates of Davis' immunizations. The wound was still bleeding as well, and I thought Davis would need a couple stitches. At 10:00am we went to the clinic to sign up for a visit. We were number 23, they were on patient 8. Deneen spent most of her day waiting. As it turned out, everything was fine. No stitches, no shots, no problems. The bite is scabbed over and not even an issue anymore.

When we got home from the party on Wednesday night, we also had to deal with an unbelievable mess in the kitchen. We had gotten flour everywhere. The flour on all of the pans and tools had hardened. We tried to clean everything up.

Friday and Saturday of this week we have been dealing with an ant problem. There are thousands of tiny ants in the kitchen, on all of the counters, coming out of the stove, on the appliances. Everywhere we open, and under everything we move, is a thin film of flour dust. Ant food.

This is Sunday. The power on our side of the island is going to be cut for 8 hours today for work at the airport. We are going to go down to the south side of the island and see how far we can snorkel north.

So this is the end of what has been a kind of busy, stressful week. Also, we lost our internet connection for two days while some changes were made at Cable and Wireless. Now, every program we try and download and watch from the internet says "This program is only available in the United States." We are very glad we got the satellite installed last weekend.

Happy New Rear

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