Our subject today is chopsticks or, as they are called in China, kuaizi (kwhy-zuh). The good news is, if you know how to hold a pencil properly, you’re halfway there. Here are the steps to mastering the art of eating with chopsticks.
The first chopstick is your “anchor” stick. Grasp it as if you were going to write with it.
Now adjust your anchor stick until it “locks” in place at the very tip of your ring finger. The two points of contact should be the crotch between your thumb and index, and the tip of your ring finger.
The second stick is your “scissor” stick. It does all the work while your anchor stick just sits there. Grasp your scissor stick with your thumb, index and middle fingers.
Practice picking up small objects by moving the scissor stick up and down.
You now have the basic idea, but because everyone’s hand is different you may have to experiment until you find the right combination. For example, many people use their middle finger to lock the anchor stick and their thumb and index for the scissor stick.
You will know you are a kuaizi master when you can eat shelled peanuts one at a time from a bowl set in the middle of the table!
Eating noodles is a cinch with chopsticks and eating rice with chopsticks is easier than you may think. Hold your rice bowl up to your mouth and kind of shovel it in!
Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has deposited twenty seven cents into my bank account. Yeah, I know, but it’s a start.
I am a screenwriter, but I chose to publish a few of my screenplays as e-books. I am still learning the mechanics of converting screenplay files into book files. The format appears a little wonky depending upon which electronic device you read with. I am sure I will figure it out eventually.
In the meantime, here is a link to my latest effort.
After thirteen years in China I am back in the USA. Yesterday I went to the doctor and there was good news: my blood pressure was one twenty over seventy two. For your reference, here is a chart provided by the American Heart Association. My doctor also recommended cholesterol and diabetes mellitus screening.
When the blood tests came back there was more good news. Sort of. It seems my cholesterol levels are low to normal, but my blood sugar is considered “pre-diabetic.” Must have been that carrot cake I had for breakfast.
For a man crossing the threshold of retirement I consider this to be a relatively good checkup. Such was not the case in 2004 when I boarded a plane bound for Shanghai. I can say with some degree of certainty that my turnaround in health probably has more than a little to do with my diet during those thirteen years.
Here then is a link to a post I wrote a few years back!
American Wine Merchants launches direct-to-China e-commerce platform
By Ron Hendricks
February 8, 2017
2017 年2 月8 日
Shanghai, China – In cooperation with the California Wine Institute, the Washington Wine
Board, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Oregon Wine Commission, which are
all supported by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural
Trade Office in mainland China, the American Wine Merchants (AWM) is pleased to announce
the launch of their flagship USA Wine Store on Alibaba’s Tmall.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for US wine brands to reach end consumers in China,” said
AWM Manager, Alex Chen. “Our goal is to provide a central marketplace for USA wine products
in mainland China. We’re especially pleased to partner with Tmall, as it is poised to become the
world’s largest e-commerce marketplace by the end of 2018,” remarked Chen.
“Another important goal of the project is to deliver wine information in Chinese as well as
English,” stated Mr. Chen. “Our aim is to create U.S. wine awareness through education,
marketing and promotion.”
“We are especially proud to have the support of the key United States wine groups that are
backed by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural Trade
Office in mainland China in this ‘first-of-a-kind’ cooperative partnership,” said Chen. “Tmall
already boasts 500 million plus registered users in China and with the right marketing and
promotional activities we believe we can reach each and every one of these users and help
grow US wines in China.”
AWM encourages and welcomes all USA wineries, importers and distributors to have their
products sold through the AWM-Tmall Store.
另外AWM 欢迎所有美国葡萄酒厂、进口商和分销商的产品在AWM 天猫商城上销售。
For additional information about the AWM-Tmall Store, please contact:
Wendy Zhang, Media Relations
Wine lovers are passionate people. If you doubt this, simply ask a devotee or two the question above. Be prepared, however. The answers are sure to be varied, entertaining and (hopefully) enlightening.
At some point, an element of regional pride may creep into the conversation. For example: “I KNOW the best wines come from my hometown!”
Actually, I am fairly certain that some of the best wines DO come from my hometown of Walla Walla, Washington. By way of evidence, I point to the list of top 100 wines published every year by Wine Spectator Magazine.*
Pick any year and scroll down the page. You are almost certain to find one or two (or more) Walla Walla wines featured. Okay, okay enough of this; see what I mean about wine lovers being passionate?
Anyway, let’s step back from the debate for a moment and offer up some objectivity by way of a brief history lesson.
The “common” grape
Fine wines are made from a particular species of grape known as Vitis vinifera. Wild varieties of Vitis vinifera are believed to have originated from the Mediterranean, central European, and southwestern Asian regions. Nowadays, Vitis vinifera grapes are cultivated on every continent except Antarctica.
The earliest evidence of winemaking practices can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as in Roman and Greek texts. In ancient times, wine grape cultivation and winemaking seems to have been primarily reserved for the ruling class.
Roots of modern winemaking
During the European Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries) wine grape cultivation and wine-making began a shift from traditional methods to more scientific ones. As European countries (notably France, Italy and Spain) began to colonize the world, they took their grapes and wines with them. Because of this, an important distinction arose between the New World (the colonies) and the Old World (the colonizers).
Old World vs. New World
Why is the distinction between Old World and New World wines important? There are several reasons. Let’s talk about a few of them…
Winemakers in Old World countries have been making wine the same way for centuries. This is because of restrictions placed upon them by governmental and/or other supervisory organizations. On the one hand, this regulation assures a continuation of heritage and tradition. On the other hand it leaves little room for variety or experimentation.
True to the pioneering spirit, New World winemakers are afforded more freedom to follow their own concept for a particular vintage. It is also often easier for New World winemakers to incorporate the newest discoveries, techniques and advances in technology into their wine-making process.
One of the ways in which New World does follow Old is by way of a system of Appellation. The word “appellation” comes from the French verb “appeler.” It means ‘to call or name.”
Appellations are used to identify the particular source of grapes used in wine. Usually, it is a legally defined geographic region, but can also require other specifications as well. Each country has its own rules for bestowing Appellation status.
Of course, Old World Appellations have been in place for centuries. New World appellations are still being granted.
I remember when our Walla Walla Valley gained this distinction. The year was 1984 and, at that time, there were really only a handful of wineries and vineyards in the area. My sister-in-law had been tasked with helping to fill out the AVA paperwork. AVA stands for American Viticultural Area.
Although we were a fairly small “band of believers,” it was still very exciting when we got word the Walla Walla Valley Appellation had been recognized. Somehow we knew that our little valley was destined for great things in the world of wine. (Oops! There is that passion thing again.)
Vive la difference!
To be sure, there is no lack of variety among Old World wines. With such rich histories and diversity of language and culture, how could there not be? In addition to stricter regulation, however, there are other factors to consider when discussing the topic of New World wines vs. Old World wines.
In my next post I would like to delve into the concept of “Terroir,” (another word borrowed from the French).
Until then, try not to let your passion get the better of you!
(About the writer: In the late 1970’s, Ron Hendricks partnered with his father and brother to establish Seven Hills Vineyards, the first commercial vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley Appellation. This small region in the southeast corner of Washington State regularly produces world class, award-winning wines. Ron is an author, teacher and wine lover who has lived in China since 2004.)
I usually order a tall brewed coffee at my neighborhood Starbucks. It’s the cheapest drink on the menu. Today, in honor of the holiday season, I’ve ordered a nutmeg latte. While I wait for my beverage, I hum along with the Muzak. “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Although it never snows in Guangzhou, I could just as easily be standing in line in downtown Seattle.
Coffee and Christmas have come to China in a big way. My nutmeg latte, incidentally, costs 32 RMB which is about $5.25 at current exchange rates. Make that coffee, Christmas and capitalism. In my neighborhood alone I can choose from a half dozen coffee shops. And Christmas decorations – don’t get me started!
I have a snapshot of workers erecting a Merry Christmas sign above the entry to our local mall. It’s dated October 25th, six days before Halloween and exactly two whole months before Christmas. Of course, Christmas is not a government holiday so there is no time off from work. But that does not seem to impede the commercial possibilities.
For me, Christmas is about traditions – family, friends, food and festivities- and, of course, there is the religious tradition as well. The first four traditions can be found in abundance during Chinese Spring Festival, which falls on January 28th, 2017. Religious tradition can also be found in China, although in lesser amounts.
My first year in China (2004) I attended a Chinese Catholic mass with a colleague on a cold Christmas Eve. We were in Jiangxi Province at the time; in a city that had a rather scarce supply of laowai (foreigners). Our plan was to slip quietly into the back row, listen for a while and then slip out as quietly as we came in. That was our plan.
Our plan changed dramatically, however, when the priest glanced up from his text and noticed two odd strangers sitting in the back. He instantly ordered two chairs be brought down front. You would have thought we were two of the three Magi as we sheepishly walked down the center aisle. The congregation stood up and began to applaud – so much for slipping out quietly!
Tsingtao (pronounced: ching-dow) was first brewed in 1903 in the Northeastern port town of Qingdao. According to their website, Tsingtao is “the #1 consumer product exported from China.” It was first introduced to the United States in 1972 and can now be found in 62 countries and regions around the world.
Chinese beer tends to be lighter, low-alcohol pale lager with Tsingtao as the classic example; historically the most widely recognized Chinese beer label. In recent years China’s Snow label has overtaken world markets and now reigns as the number one selling beer in the world. The title is a bit misleading, however, as Snow represents a broad range of beers.
The complexity of Chinese cuisine presents some unique challenges when pairing with European style wines. Faced with this prospect, a default choice is quite often beer. The good news is the art of Eastern-Western food…
My friend Brian and I were both limping on the same leg. What I mean is, HE was limping on HIS right leg and I was limping on MINE. Or maybe it was his left. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
Brian claims his limp is from an old football injury that occasionally flares. I think he slipped in some buffalo wing sauce during Super Bowl halftime. No, wait. Brian is British. Make that World Cup and malt vinegar. I finally went to a doctor and found out what my problem was. Osteoarthritis. But I am getting ahead of my story.
We hobbled around for about a week and things did not seem to be getting any better. It finally got serious when neither one of us could make it up the stairs of our favorite Chinese Pub (is that an oxymoron?). The pub is in the basement, so we were trying…