Tengo sueño

I’m freakin’ tired.

This week I have been leaving for campus between nine and ten, and arriving at home between nine and ten. That’s a long time, especially considering that I haven’t been packing lunch in advance or anything - I’m basically there for three meal’s worth of time, or at least one. Okay, two, but I’ve just been have a quick slice of pizza from downstairs in the Coffman Union. Surprisingly good, but one slice and a bottle of juice for $5 seems like a little much to me. That’s the price of convenience.

Also, my backpack is like 500 pounds when fully laden, which is always. It’s my anti-freshman fifteen policy. So far, so good.

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Today’s word is “eggplant”

חציל

That coworker brought in more food today - this time it was eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce. It melted like butter in my mouth. So very delicious.

I know that you are too lazy to look it up, so here's a nice link to “eggplant.” It has lot's of translations. Did you know that eggplant is a berry?

http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/english/eg/eggplant.html

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Zhug

זחוג

A coworker of mine brought some delicious Yemeni Jewish foods to work. There were a couple of salsa/chutney/curry things, which were okay, and זחוג, which was a paste of cilantro, garlic, “cumin-like spices,” and hot peppers. That was suprememly delicious. I'm not usually a fan of cilantro, but this was WOW.

I still have to ask him what it would go with - although I could eat it straight up on bread - the recipes online (I will leave the googling to you) give a lot of possibilities, but I'm thinking pita.

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“Ramen” means “noodles”

Tampopo/タンポポ (1985)
Writer/Director: Juzo Itami

ラーメン (ramen: noodles)

If you're me, you have survived on the magic of instant ramen noodles. If you are someone else, you may have at one point or another eaten ramen for several weeks because it was ridiculously cheap. You may have secretly loved it, since it was so basic and consistent. It might not have been gourmet food, but you really liked it for the first week- or at least a couple of days.

Unfortunately, a lot of stigma has been attached to ramen. It's the prototypical starving college student staple. Po' folks buy it by the case, and it never goes bad, which lowers it into a class with Twinkies and Spam.

The film Tampopo implies that in Japan, noodle shops are as ubiquitous as hamburgers in the United States. The noodles that they serve are called ramen, because ramen is simply a word for noodles. In Tampopo, fresh noodles are dropped into boiling water, then spooned into a bowl with soup stock, various vegetables and a little bit of meat. Imagine a deli for soup, where the cook assembles it in front of you, to order.

However, Tampopo is not really about noodles or even the noodle shop and the characters who find themselves connected (or not connected) to it. Tampopo is about the human relationship with food and its preparation. The movie has many storylines, which sometimes connect by a bare thread and sometimes happen completely independently.

Tampopo touches the whole range of human emotions. Laughter, anger, love, grief, lust, and - of course - hunger all wink at you from behind thin slices of pork and spring onions. If your mother passed away while cooking her final meal, would you eat it while it was still hot, or would you mourn her and let that meal go to waste? How gentle do you have to be to pass an unbroken egg yolk from your mouth to your lover's mouth - and how many times could you pass it back and forth with delicate kisses? Can you take pride in preparing simple food that makes people happy?

Okay, not every question asked by the movie is life-changing, but there is a lot of hidden depth, even in the broadly comic portions of the movie.

Noodles noodles? Delicious!

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Finally! Something I can tattoo on my ass!

If you have ever struggled with a menu in a Chinese restaurant, take a gander at this site:

http://www.inu.org/meiwah/

It's the joint. Bonus points for you if you can send me the unicode entities for “potsticker”. Oh yes, you will be mine.

Update: thanks to http://www.tigernt.com/, I got my characters. They don't look anything like the drawings. Dammit!

锅贴 [guo1 tie1] /fried dumpling/

[guo1] /pot/pan/boiler/

[tie1] /to stick/to paste/to keep close to/to fit snugly/allowance/

Also, “gold” (金) is supposed to be a part of the “pot” (锅) character. I'm not sure that I see it, but maybe.

Another update- my friend beckett came up with this alternate pair of characters:

鍋贴 [guo1 tie1] /fried dumpling/

Then, because we were arguing over which character was correct, I found this on an online menu:

http://www.222.to/shanghaitown/menu.asp

鍋貼 [guo1 tie1] /fried dumpling/

The last one looks closest to what was on the site where I started, but doesn't match the online dictionaries.

As far as guo (鍋) goes, I found a kanji reference to it, which is Japanese, but the Japanese used Chinese characters as a starting point, so I think that we're on the right path.

http://www.kanjidict.com/demo/934b.html

Ah ha! I spoke with a coworker from Taiwan, and she explained that all four characters are correct, and that one set was Traditional and the other was Simplified.

Traditional: 鍋貼

Simplified: 锅贴

Here's some explanation as to the difference:

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplified_Chinese

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese

Of course, all of those characters are displayable via Unicode. I use html entities like 鍋 and 貼 to display the characters that I want. I could code my page in UTF-8. Then, I could just cut and paste the characters instead of translating them into numeric codes. However, my work computer doesn't have Chinese locales installed, so I don't have the fonts to show those characters. They just show up as boxes. My home computer shows everything correctly, which is way cool.

Oh yeah - Beckett wins the prize: a homecooked dinner whenever he is in Minnesota or I am in Los Angeles.

Next up: steamed or fried dumplings? Obviously, I am a fan of the fried variety, but Beckett holds the incorrect opinion that steamed dumplings are somehow better. What ever.

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I Hunger

http://www.sinistar.com/

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