When my mom soaked whole grain dough in fresh milk,
She would add a few duck eggs to texturize the dough.
She then kneaded the dough and divided it into small chunks.
She would pour Liaojiu, Laochou and add sugar into a bowl of diced fatty pork.
With chopsticks she would make the filling by mixing them all.
Then she would scoop some, put into a piece of flattened dough and squeeze to seal the filling.
In pyramidal shapes
Yellow and rough like honeycomb.
In a Cha Siu Baozi,
We would have a huge bite and let the succulent filling flow out.
After a few buns in a row,
The stomach would be full, the mind would be satisfactory and happy.
I chose Hong Junju’s “Noodles in Broth”to imitate. I chose this piece because I shared the same passion for appreciating the beauty of the noodle dish preparing process with the author, as well as the tribute of the food itself. The comprehensive description of the chef’s cooking process echoes with my recent experience of watching my mom making Cha Siu Baozi (Steamed bun stuffed with barbecued roast pork) and me enjoying cooking myself. The culinary process is truly artistic enjoyment and spiritual nurture for not only the chef but also for people observing. The smooth progression of the cooking procedures leads to a colorful and flavorful bowl of noodles, which is a feast for both your vision and gustation. Although the taste of the noodles was not a main focus for the author, he still depicted the satisfaction of eating the noodles and being full of noodles and shed lights on the beauty of the silky noodles.
I learned about my own culture, which was a direct descendent of the author’s, by spotting cultural DNAs demonstrated in the author’s piece and minethrough imitating his writing,which are the great emphasis on the sophisticated process of making the noodles andthe valuing of the noodle dish itself. I realized that these two were important aspects of Chinese food culture and life philosophy. Appreciating and praising food is a traditional Chinese moral value and practice, which has influenced every generation of Chinese. By describing the transformation of the dough into fine long strings of noodles in metaphorical terms, the author expressed that he saw the noodles and the silk in the same way, which were both beautiful and precious similar to my relationship with Baozi and honey. If food is an admirable masterpiece, then the cooking is a ritual of self-actualization, from which you could derive nourishing pleasure and a sense of great achievement. People watching the ritual could also benefit from the aesthetics of cooking.