Food and Clothing

I tried to make dinner yesterday.
I was too irritated about it to actually post it. I had frozen/packaged food from the store yesterday, but didn't have much else to do and kinda wanted to cook. So I decided I'd stroll into "the village" (which sounds like an African or Vietnamese cluster of thatched roof homes, when in reality, it's something like fifty 40-story buildings that make up the community, so it has its own mall and schools and playgrounds and parks and squares and a market.
This place is like a maze. I can get to it and into it fine, but I get so turned around so easily. I navigate my way through Hong Kong no problem, but this maze of identical looking buildings with sidewalks every which way and children running and playing and old Cantonese men smoking, and hacking and playing Mah Johng gets me every time. I asked one lady in Cantonese where the market was, and apparently said it wrong, because she pointed me off in some direction where I had to ask another guy who pointed me in an entirely different direction and gave me three or four commands, and after following the first two (all I could catch), I started heading in the direction from which the people with bags of produce were coming. I made it to the market.
I bought the following: some Thai chili paste, onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, (had something in mind with all of this) oranges, a few nice (looking) filets of freshly cleaned fish and a big one liter (or something) bottle of Tsingdao beer (for lack of white wine or chicken broth). The idea was this: sweat the veggies a bit, let them soften some. Add the beer, chili paste, ginger and orange zest and the fish, cover, let simmer for a bit and I'd have a decent thickish brothy substance with yummy veggies . I had some rice going too, to which I added some orange zest as the water was boiling. Gave it a nice... orangeyness.
It just didn't work. The fish was absolutely full of pinbones, and any attempts to remove them proved futile. I even found some needle nosed pliers and washed them clean and tried to pull 'em out like they do in restaurants... nope. The beer didn't work, the veggies were kinda icky from the start. I didn't have a lot of the extra stuff I really would have needed to make it work. it was an improv. But I ate it and it sufficed.
I did my first load of laundry tonight. It didn't take that long. There is a washing machine here, and it sings like one of those rice cookers when it starts and stops (cuz it's Asian). What I lack (and I knew I would) is a dryer... My clothes came out of the washing machine wrinked. I let them sit no more than five minutes and it looked like I'd braided them all together and bungee jumped from a bridge with them. They're hanging dry now, and we'll see how stiff and crunchy (and still wrinkled) they are tomorrow.
Oh, yeah, I hung them inside. It's not that I don't trust the neighbors, who have all hung their clothes outside, but I just don't feel comfortable leaving my clothes outside two stories up on the top floor of this building to dry. I don't know why we don't actually have a rack on our own balcony... anywho, I was told adding a cup or so of vinegar to the rinse water in the machine would soften them a bit, so I'll try that next time. Any other suggestions?


la viajera said...

Try actually shaking them out, and smoothing them out when they are wet. It's almost like ironing them with out an iron. I think vinegar would make them stink. If you do ever end up hanging them up outside make sure you dry them inside-out so that they don't fade as much.

Dezare' said...

Using fabric softener? I remember that helped a bit with my jeans not becoming boards of fabric. You'll get used to the hanging your clothes outside thing. They dry better too. Well, depending on the weather I suppose.

Anonymous said...

D concurs with la viajera. Shaking them out is apparently the way to go. And she adds, "awoid the winegar." Du courage, mon ami!

Horse N. Buggy said...

Of course, I say, "Trust the source who gave you the tip on vinegar." I don't know these other two commenters, but if they are around your age, do you really think they know better laundry tips than a housewife who raised two kids? (No offense to 20-somethings.)

My only recommendation is to let your roommate know that you've had vinegar in his machine when he gets back in case he doesn't like the idea for some reason. One or two cycles of just water should rinse it all out.