Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wrappings and Fillings - The Origami of a Potsticker

Gone are the days of traveling with a passport, a paper map and a change of underwear.  In packing for my two week trip, destination Hong Kong and China mainland. I have triple checked that I have my laptop, camera, chargers, magic jack, Tylenol PM, and an unheard of four pears of shoes.  Clearly traveling light means something different to me now then it did a carefree decade ago.

Despite having to pack and prepare for this journey, I was inspired by Heidi Swansons's post "Golden Pot stickers"  on her blog 101 Cookbooks.  Maybe it because of the Asian influence or maybe it was because she also was preparing for a flight that I was moved to making pot stickers before this trip  (Once again I leave my kitchen a mess at a very inopportune time.)  In this post I will recommend that you try Heidi's recipe that looks practiced, well-tested and tantalizing.  Mine was, in fact, a disaster.  Let me apologize if you came to this site in search of a recipe and instead found me droning in about the current up sweep of my life and how it connects with the joy I find in the craft of making food.  In my defense I tried to write a fabulous recipe for you, one indicative of this new culture that I am traveling to.....a culture that I know little to nothing about.  That was the problem.

I made the filling for these pot stickers the way I would have made a ravioli, a vegetable, tofu ravioli.  I was drawing on my own knowledge about cooking and cuisine and this time I fell short.  The effect was bland and mushy with the faintest hint of what I assumed to be Asian flavors:  ginger, scallions, soy sauce, shitake mushrooms  Like an ethnic stereotype, it was an incomplete, inaccurate representation of what a real Asian food experience could be.  Food without that deeper complexity is just filling your stomach.

Not everything I make is a success, design, food, or writing, but what I have come to know is that the process is what keeps me going just as much as the desired result.  There was a calm that cam over me in folding these wrappers into neat little four-cornered envelopes, trying to get each one more perfect than the last.  A talented artist friend of mine, Jaclyn, told me that when she feels anxious about something she folds origami paper cranes.  There are beautiful bowls full on of them on display in her home.  (Was I anxious?  Could have been the 14 our flight ahead of me.)

Anyway, I will probably be too busy to see many of the tourist sites on this trip but I do hope I come away with a more authentic idea of Chinese cuisine than what comes in the little white cardboard boxes in New York.    Maybe then you will get your recipe.

1 comment:

  1. hey you lucky...a totally new culture for you! yes will wait for some snazzy pot stickers from your travel...of food or of mind!
    ahem, i still suggest you carry a change of underwear ;P