Stick’s parents asked what we were eating, and the short answer is that I’m trying to cook at home.
For example, here’s our dinner the other night. It might not make a magazine cover, but this is some hardcore polenta. I scooped the cornmeal out of a giant bag at the street market, pre-boiled the tap water before I cooked it, and then fried it with chopsticks.
The long answer is that anything and everything I want to cook is a production. I don’t buy meat, partly because the unrefrigerated hunks of flesh kind of creep me out and partly because it’s a butcher-shop situation and I don’t know the Chinese for “hack off some of Bessie’s flank there, no intestines please.”
So, I’m cooking vegetarian food, except for some maple-flavoured bacon that a trendy import shop happens to carry in their Western food section.
We don’t have an oven. We have a stove, with two gas burners that remind me of this Sterno-can camp stove my dad built when I was kid, only our Beijing stove is bigger and not quite as safe. We also have a microwave… it’s in the living room, on top of the fridge, but it works fine.
If you’re confused, “kitchen” is the room where the stove is, and “living room” is the room where the fridge and the TV are. They are connected only by the unheated balcony. Oh, and the “balcony” isn’t a little porch for enjoying the view, it’s a screened airing closet for drying laundry. Sims would starve to death in our house.
(In the interests of honesty, there is a big pass-through window between the kitchen and living room, and Stick is quite good about getting up and handing me the milk through the window. )