Monday, December 11, 2006

Winter snacking

Yes! Veggie Chips!
In this long overdue post...I want to focus on two things.
1) snacks
2) people who give me snacks, and particularly, people who go out of their way to buy and send me snacks I can't get in western Kentucky.

This motherload of Asian munchies comes to me all the way from Darnestown, Md. where my good friend, fellow animal lover and favorite dessert maker, Lily, lives.

Growing up with weekend trips to Chinatown made me no stranger to Chinese snacks-- like shrimp chips and Botan rice paper-wrapped candies. Then living with a Taiwanese roommate in college got me hooked on dried squid, deep fried broad beans and wasabi peas (which, I recently noticed are actually not peas at all, but garbanzo beans masquerading around in an ungodly amount of green food coloring.) Next, a year in SoCal introduced me to the likes of Ranch 99, an Asian megamarket. Mango gummies and Taro jelly cups were standard fare in my house there. But all those Asian snacking opportunities couldn't compare to living in Taiwan, where many of these snacks originate.

One of my favorite parts of Taiwanese culture is the little bowls of snacks and plates of fresh cut fruit produced by any good host or hostess after dinner. On most Friday nights, Joe and I would walk ten minutes to another couple's apartment for our small group meeting. Sister Luan Seong always had the best snacks. :) An evening at the Seongs could involve mango, papaya, guava, wax apple or even durian, if they were able to smuggle one on the plane from Malaysia, their home country. There might be some egg jam and biscuits. Or some watermelon seeds. Or some dainty little cookies from a local bakery. Ahh... those were the days.

Well, whenever Joe and I hosted the small group, we made good and sure that we had the munchies. We also had plenty of origami boxes on hand for spitting out seeds or shells or rinds. I'd like to say we continue the custom today, but we really don't have people over as much as we used to in Taiwan, or in Champaign--where we lived last, and where I met Lily.

Let's take another look at those snacks up close:
It helps the taste buds immensly when candy is packaged in an "attractive small bag"
Though incredibly tempting, I'm going to rip into these AFTER Priscilla's wedding...(Read: AFTER I need to fit into a little red dress.)

This was indeed a happy present, but credit goes to Lily.


Rachel said...

Hey, Em!

Love those snacks! :) And let me know if you want some broad beans...I can send you a ton of them!! :)

I made Christmas chip cookies on Sunday using red and green baking chips that my mom sent me awhile back. I tried half applesauce, half butter...they were "cakier" than normal cookies, but still very moist---just the way I like them!

I need a good sugar cookie that I can use to make "cut-out" more of a hard sugar cookie. I'll google around, but if you have a good one, let me know! I usually make the soft kind, but now I have some cool cookie cutters that I want to use!

BPC said...

Have you found any Asian markets around Oak Grove or Clarksville? There's a whole [Korean] Asian subculture surrounding Fort Campbell.