Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And the Challenges Go On.. Part 2

Who did this to my zucchini!?!

My parents said that it must have been this. I dug around the baby plants but couldn't find anything. Later dad tried again and found several of them hiding very close to the roots!
Hope my baby zucchini plants can survive... :(

Well, maybe I should warn you. Here comes a few more episodes related to some creatures that are not considered very attractive in many countries. Sorry to disillusionize you about the life in countryside, but I guess you'll get used to it as I do. (And I promiss that I won't post photos of such creatures.)

One sunny afternoon, when I walked out the house, I found two brown ropes tied into a knot on the ground right outside the entrance.
... Wait. Do ropes have tongues?
No, they were not ropes. They were two brown snakes!
... I was totally frozen for a couple of minutes there.

In the past weeks, I got acquainted with several seniors at my parents' house. To start with: There's a relatively large spider living in the bathroom. He is the bathroom king, and he must be the descendant of the king I used to see on the bathroom wall in my childhood. And several days later, I found out that there was actually a bathroom queen, too, when she walked across my instep while I was rinsing my hair with my eyes closed.

I tell you what. You can't really scream when you're extremely scared.
And I don't want to think about prince(s) and princess(es)...

Also there's someone who often appears on the bath mat to greet me. I named him(her?) Sluggy.

Are you feeling sick? OK. Let's not talk about creatures any more then. I'll tell you about the worst one in the Part 3 of this series.

The gas stove in the kitchen here is such a pain in the neck. It seems to have been programmed to reduce heat automatically when it gets to certain temperature. So when I'm making stir-fry, it suddenly gives a soft beep sound and turns the heat to very low. And I can't turn it up for about a minute (or could be shorter but it feels like hours).

Actually one of my major missions here at my parents' house is to restore peace and order in the big fridge in the kitchen. From before, mom didn't care much about wasting food and kept buying as much of whatever she liked. But in the past, at least she was feeling guilty to some extent, and tried to change that habit once in a while, though with not much success, of course.

Now she doesn't seem to feel guilty any more... Or more likely, she is not interested in understanding what is bad about having the fridge jam-packed with food and wasting half of it. For her, whoever does not approve of her way of doing things is an enemy, and she just tries to avoid interacting with the person as much as possible. That's it. Before I moved in, dad had told me that when she was not in a good mood, she would make up excuses to leave house so that she could avoid preparing meals and eating them with him. She didn't do that in my first couple of weeks here, but now she does that to me, too.

Dad said talking to her didn't really work and made her mood worse, which didn't surprise me. This may sound awful, but right now I'm not trying to "fix" this problem -- I don't even know if I see this as a "problem" anyway. Instead, when this happens, I take advantage of the time I can dominate the kitchen, and try out the recipes I found on the net in order to consume these food items from 1) the supermarket, 2) food co-op delivery, 3) our orchard/veggie gardens and 4) the local fishing port. Oh, plus, 5) those brought by neighbors and relatives to share. Controlling 1) is not too difficult because I usually go shopping with mom. Regarding 2),--I guess I should check the order sheet at the last minute from next time on. But 3), 4) and 5) would be really difficult to control...

Gee. I really, REALLY need to broaden my cooking repertoire and creativity. I have never felt the need this badly before... Phew!

OK. Enough for now. Let's take a break and admire the beauty of these flowers.


Fiona said...

re: your fridge -- we often have the same problem. Mum buys so many tins and jars of things, or packs of cheese, or whatever and stuffs them into the fridge or cupboard, and a lot of it does NOT get eaten. It's annoying, because it means that, as the fridge is jampacked, the temperature is not spread evenly, either, and things DO go off faster in that kind of environment.

The freezer is howling, also. It's jam packed with stuff we've had in there for ages, and it really needs cleaning. x_x

It really does my head in. I can never find ANYTHING when I'm trying to cook (and half the time, the stuff I'm looking for, tends to be on a high shelf out of my reach, which is also annoying, and requires the use of step ladders).

I feel your pain, Obachan. You're not the only one with this problem. ^_^;;

obachan said...

Hi Fiona,
My god, what you described sounds AWFULLY familiar! Yeah, I'm definitely feeling easier now. :D

One thing I noticed is that I'm not cooking/eating in order to enjoy food these days. I'm eating to use up ingredients, to prevent them from going bad and to make some space in the fridge.

I thought baking would be different and enjoyable, because no one (including relatives) but myself buys baking ingredients and usually they don't go off so fast. But still there are many concerns that ruins the pure joy of baking, if I try to make something both my parents and I can eat. I have to watch the amount of sugar and fat, make the texture soft and avoid Western spices and liquor, etc.

Maybe one of these days I should make a super sweet, buttery dessert only for myself just to free myself from all the "concerns" and enjoy baking.

K and S said...

gosh, I missed your moving to this new site...gotta catch up now :)

Fiona said...

Yup, I know how that goes. Frequently, my dad ends up eating whatever's in the fridge before it goes off.

Baking is much the same here too -- I tend to be the only one tries to bake, these days, but I'm always being told off for putting too much sugar in. (Dad's diabetic) It means that I can't really share what I've made, and end up unable to eat it up myself. That and mum and dad fussing that I'm going to "make a mess of the kitchen". *Facepalms*

Parents can totally be the bane of a cooking ethusiast's life, huh?


Anonymous said...

Oh my... i'm your mom! i've noticed on other food blogs that packed refig. are not too uncommon. tho i realize it's not the best thing to do, i felt relieved that i wasn't alone :P it's so hard not to take advantage of those sales and stock the refrig/shelves with goodies. aside from buying too much, i have a problem of making things and not really wanting to eat it all. for example... my kimchi experiment that rendered me 3 gallon jars of kimchi. it was really fun making it. and it was actually pretty good. but, eating it all was another thing. i shared as much as i could but still had more than i wanted to eat.

shamefully a foodaholic....


obachan said...

K & S;
Hey I was wondering if you lost interest in my blog. Glad that you came. Missed ya. :D

Thanks so much for sharing. Your comment really made me feel better. Honestly, the going's getting a bit tough lately. Not because the challenges are too great, but maybe because my parents are the only people I interact with the whole day every day for the time being. It's as if blogging is the only window to the world outside. :D

BTW, I didn't know what *facepalms* meant, but now I do. Thanks.

obachan said...

Hi Mura,
You just commented while I was writing my comment above. :D

To some extent, I can understand why people enjoy buying food and preparing dishes but not so much of consuming them. I was like that, too, when I lived alone. But here it can get almost out of hand because fresh food keeps coming in from our several veggie gardens and orchards and from neighbors/relatives. And when mom is on "hunger strike" like now, she avoids cooking/eating, and still keeps buying food because she can't remember what she bought before. So, with dad having to watch what and how much to eat, I guess I have to be the pig and dump everything into my stomach.

Odoriko said...

When I have so many ingredients in the fridge my solution is soups or rice dishes. Amazing what you can mix in a soup! And then there is snake soup too ja ja ja!
Wildlife I got used, I prefer them to the black quality ones in the cities. I understand the feeling. I once got frozen in front of inoshishi. Life in the countryside is so charming, I now have a big laugh whenever I feel the threat. Sorry for the zucchini but some will survive, besides what would you do with so many?

obachan said...

That's exactly right. More veggies to consume when it's cucumber, tomato and eggplant season! It'd be like putting some dumbbells in the pockets when swimming with clothes and shoes on. Haha...


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