Beijing, a World of Difference

After over thirty hours of traveling, we finally arrived in Beijing, the capital of China. I will be breaking this blog up by city and then by day. With Bei as our tour leader, we do over five things everyday so it is going to be hard to talk about everything, but I will try my best! Please enjoy!

Day 1:

After arriving at the airport, we met with our tour director, Sunny. Sunny is absolutely amazing and Bei has been working with her for the past couple of years so Sunny is super excited to be working with us! We immediately board our coach bus and our itinerary begins at full speed. Our first stop was lunch in the center of Beijing. Lunch was traditional Chinese food, which wasn’t too shocking, however, I didn’t get out of the restaurant without some culture shock! Apparently in China, there is something called a squatting toilet, I’m sure you can figure out why this was shocking! Continue reading “Beijing, a World of Difference”

Just a Few More Days Left in State College

As we sprinted through the cooking this week, the past few days have been pretty mellow. My brother and mom had to drive out to Pittsburgh today for his follow-up doctor appointment. If you don’t know, that is about 2 and a half or 3 hours each way. That also meant I was fully responsible for the puppies today. Yesterday, we made chocolate chocolate cheesecake and my Mama Trudy’s brisket.

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Chocolate chocolate cheesecake!

And in case you were curious, the Fader on Wednesday went really well. If you didn’t read my last blog, a Fader is a Fake Seder, a term I made up. It was quite delicious. And the dessert platter was beautiful.

ImageI managed to finish the rest of the Petites Four Squares (because they are just beyond delicious), and we are thinking of repeating some of the recipes soon. This would definitely be one of them. On another note, tonight we are having chicken with my Mama Trudy’s stuffing and even more matzoh ball soup. She accidentally dropped all the leftover soup earlier today, but at least now I have a picture of it to show you!

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Sorry! They’re a little hard to see

I am going to try to talk to Mama Trudy about her family, but from what I have seen she is reluctant to talk in detail about her childhood. I will let you know how that goes. I have so far learned that her father was an engineer, but my mom gave me a signal to stop asking questions soon after. I have been taking a lot of pictures of photos of family members when they were young and/or alive. I am getting all the anecdotes to make a perfect cookbook! I will let you know in a couple of days how it goes, since my mom and I are planning to leave Sunday, Monday at the latest.

From Pittsburgh to State College

Due to a weather delay, my mother and I left Wednesday instead of Tuesday to visit my brother, Danny, in Pittsburgh. He had surgery on his meniscus at 4 am the following day. He currently has to keep his knee at 180 degrees, so I am the one to take care of his two 4 month-old puppies. He heard that he needed to get the surgery 4 days after he got the puppies. At least they are adorable.

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Danny’s French Bulldogs, Pudge (left) and Mojo (right).

On that Friday, I met my mom’s cousin Judy (Mama Trudy’s sister’s daughter). She will be sending her mother, Anne’s, potato kugel recipe and pictures soon! My mom, Danny, Pudge, Mojo, and I went to State College Saturday to see Mama Trudy and Papa Sam. Danny and his puppies will stay at their house until the end of the month when he will hopefully well enough to go back to Pittsburgh. I think he’s doing pretty well so far- I am just happy he has his puppies to keep him company.

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Danny (with his knee brace) sleeping with Pudge and Mojo.

When I got to State College that Saturday, I showed Mama Trudy, Papa Sam, and Aunt Renee (my mother’s older sister) my poems I wrote about Mama Trudy’s family a week or two ago. I have tried posting them here for over an hour but the website appears to just not want to have my poems.

They all really enjoyed my poem, and we ate Mama Trudy’s homemade brisket with mashed cauliflower right after. On Sunday (yesterday), Mama Trudy and I started off the day making noodle kugel.Image

And then after that, we made carrot soup. Here is a picture of Mama Trudy and I making it.

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My mom has been raving about this chocolate dessert Mama Trudy would make all the time when she was little. Her and Renee would always eat them frozen because they were too impatient to let them defrost. We found the name Petites Four Squares, and made them too. After following each direction to the letter, it tasted exactly how my mother remembered it.

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We also made “liver pâté,” but we all know it’s just chicken liver ground up with onions and garlic. That is not my favorite, but here is a picture of it anyways!

ImageAfter that, Papa Sam made his Southern fried chicken. He learned how to make it when he was growing up in Saltville, VA. He hadn’t made it in over 50 years! Mama Trudy told me that he didn’t make it in so long because he would always make a mess, getting grease on the floor, the counter, and even the ceiling!

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Papa Sam and I cooking up some fried chicken!

When we were done, Mama Trudy said that he was much neater making it. And it tasted delicious.

DSCF6899I will probably be updating you frequently from now on. We are making strudel and stuffed cabbage soon! I gotta go! It is going to be a busy couple of weeks!