Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Pioneer Post.

Today, I am feeling slightly defeated.  Why, you ask?  It’s Pioneer Day, and happy festivities are nonexistent in the state of Pennsylvania.  This day is, perhaps, the only day that I ever desire to live in Utah.  The whole state practically shuts down, there are pioneer activities galore, parades lining each street, massive barbecues, and families spending time together.  In Collegeville… it’s just another day to most people.  My dad worked in his office today, Mom was busy teaching piano, I’m at work, and Brigham is being Brigham. 
But I haven’t forgotten the pioneers… no, I am celebrating the pioneers who sacrificed everything as they crossed the plains, AND I’m celebrating modern-day pioneers. 

“Whenever I think about pioneers, I think of brave women and men”

Can you even imagine the pioneers' journey? - 70,000 Latter-Day-Saints, abandoning their homes and possessions, risking their well-being, putting their trust entirely in the Lord.  I think of the young men who sacrifice their lives, carrying people over the icy rapids of the Sweetwater River.  I think of the heart-broken widow who digs the graves of her children using nothing but a wooden spoon.  I marvel at their sacrifice and bravery, and I am forever grateful for their legacy and for their testimonies that enabled this gospel to flourish even more.  My ancestor, Andrew Ole Anderson, made the journey several times to help additional members cross the plains.  You can say that he's awesome, and yes... you can even Google him.

“My goal in life is for my children to be educated, happy, and worthy to marry in the temple”

Both of my parents said something to that effect.  I certainly do not need to be reminded that I have the best parents ever --they are my modern-day pioneers.  My mom did not always have the support of her parents regarding the Church.  She went to Primary by herself, she completed the seminary program by herself, and she even dumped some dude because he wasn't Mormon, knowing that she would never have the blessings of the Priesthood in her future household (bummer for him…my mom was quite the catch).  She has been active her whole life, and she has prepared me for the responsibilities of being a wife, a mother, an educator, and a worthy-temple goer.  My dad was born into the covenant, but sometimes his life was hard, as it was for my mom.  Occasionally, his family members did not make righteous decisions, but he persevered through such hardships.  He served a faithful and extremely challenging mission in Taiwan.  He forever remains, in my eyes, one of the best bishops ever, and he is an example to me.  When my parents eventually fell in love, got married, and made ridiculously awesome babies, I hardly think they could ever fathom the influence they would have on their kids.  Mom and Dad make me want to be a better person. 

Happy Pioneer Day, folks.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Daze.

This heat is killin' me! I know, I know -- I go to college in Tempe, AZ; I can fry an egg on the car hood.  But this is different, and I'm currently residing in Pennsylvania, remember?  I can take the heat, really I can.  In PA, though, Mother Nature has graciously blessed us with severe humidity (ya crazy woman).  I step outside to get the mail, and when I come back, I can swim in my own bodily fluids (I apologize for the particularly gruesome details, but try to envision my plight).  I get slightly ticked when AZ residents complain, "Ugh, it feels so humid, today!"  Folks... you don't even know humidity.  

BEHOLD!  So this is what hell is like... no wonder Satan is miserable.  Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic... I mean, some good things have resulted from this excessive heat warning.  For instance, I didn't have to work at the library this afternoon.  It costs too much energy to power Ursinus College, and it's not like the library is overflowing with students over the summer, so I'm off the hook.  We also have our methods of staying cool -- homemade popsicles, smoothies, cold showers, sitting on air vents...

So today... I went to a glorious place. That's right, folks -- IKEA.  Can you even fathom that today was the first time that I laid eyes on such a furniture sanctuary?  Before, I thought: It's a furniture store. What's so great about that? I deserved a mighty kick-in-the-pants.  Ingvar Kamprad, you blessed man, I give you my sincerest thanks for founding IKEA.  Seriously, I could live in this place.  There are furnished rooms (a billion, I might add), they have everything (including a fish-shaped ice cub tray that happily resides in our freezer), and there is even food (awesome, delicious, cheap food).  There are infinity-and-one hiding places, so the security guards would never find me as I make myself comfortable in this humble abode. 

You know why else Satan is miserable...?  There's no IKEA in hell.


Monday, July 15, 2013

A Special Kind of Tasty.

So there's this food, but it's no ordinary food.  It's an amazingly tasty food, but it's no ordinary amazingly tasty food.  It's a special kind of amazingly tasty, a tasty that I have grown up with my entire life.  My family refers to this special kind of tasty as: scallion pancakes, those pizza-slice-lookin'-thingies-with-onions, the best food ever.  Mostly, however, we call this dish  葱油饼 (No, I do not speak nor write Chinese, but I feel all fancy-shmancy writing those Chinese characters!)  It's kinda pronounced tsun-jou-pin, but for a large majority of my life, I called it "tone-yo-bean", causing my poor Nai-Nai to cringe as I consistently butchered the correct tones and intonations.

I love  油饼, and I herald it as the greatest food ever.  When I was young (I know I'm young, but I mean younger), my Nai-Nai would come to Pennsylvania to visit us.  She is an amazing cook, and I'm not just saying this just because she's my grandma.  Seriously, she ought to open a restaurant, and I would turn into a fat pastry cake from eating there for every single meal  Every time she visited, she made the mother-load of  葱油饼, and I would happily consume slice after slice after slice.  Nai-Nai's health started to decline, though, so her visits were less frequent.  I asked my mom to make  葱油饼 but she said that she could never recreate Nai-Nai's masterpiece.  Nai-Nai didn't use a recipe.

Well...yesterday, I did some snooping online, and I found a recipe from Ming Tsai for scallion pancakes.  I showed my mom, and she said it was remarkably similar to Nai-Nai's methods, so we gave it a try.  I tell ya... there was magic in the kitchen.  Mom started to follow the recipe, but then she changed it up, remembering Nai-Nai's tricks and tips.  After a couple of batches, we created the spankin'-good-amazing special kind of tasty, and it was just as I remembered.  And now... I'm an expert at making 
 葱油饼, and I cannot believe how easy it is! The recipe consists of only flour, water, scallions, salt, and sesame oil.  It sounds almost boringly simple, but it is so good, and it's a food that fits any type of budget. 

So now, I'll make it all the time, and I'll never get tired of the special kind of tasty.  The next time my family visits California, I will go to my Nai-Nai's house, and I will make a batch of  葱油饼 just for her.  And guess what... I don't need a recipe, either.