Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hot! Hot! Hot!

In English, 'Hot' can be temperature hot but can be spicy hot, too, whereas in Japanese those 2 words are different.

However, I once had a proper experience those 2 words really came together.

It was summer in 1997, when we had friends from Germany, Holland, Turkey and Canada, so it was a fairly international party at home.

Those people all had Turkish link, so I was trying to make 'Yogurtlu Kofte' from my Turkish cooking book. But I had never dealt with fresh chili peppers especially green ones before so I had no idea what they could do to me.

I was innocent and ignorant so I opened them one by one with my hands and got rid of seeds inside, yes, one by one with my hands.

My food was actually lovely, everybody complimented but by the time people started to say 'it's beautiful', 'really nice!!' etc. my hands started burning.

It was a real burn, at least that's what I felt. While people are enjoying the food in the living room I was in agony putting my hands in running water in the kitchen.

I thought, our Turkish friend may know how to cure because I got this through Turkish cooking. So I asked him what to do.

He told me that put good amount of yogurt around my hands. OK, so I did.

That seemed be working for the first 20 seconds but as soon as the yogurt gets a bit warmer, it was the same so I had to put more yogurt every 20 seconds.

In short, yogurt does only work as good as running water and you can not touch anything with this smelly white stuff on your hands. So basically, it's no good at all.

I still wonder how people deal with chili peppers? Is there better solution than yogurt or running water?

Monday, 12 September 2011

One is sorrow, two is joy...

My husband always looks for another magpie rather religiously if he finds one. 

It's a bit like kids in Japan hiding their thumbs when they see a funeral car, well at least when I was a kid, all my friends did it.

I know it sounds quite weird but it is/was believed if you do not hide your thumb when you see a funeral car, you will not be with your parents when they die. Well, there are quite a lot of 'you can not be with your parents when they die' in Japanese superstitious and this one was one of those. I kind of understand the theory behind it. In Japanese, thumb is called 'parent finger (Oya-yubi)' so if you hide your parent fingers, they are not taken away by the funeral car...

As a kid you don't really know what it is like 'you can not be with your parents' thing, but all my friends religiously hide the thumbs. 

I guess 'one is sorrow, two is joy' seems to be rather simple and innocent.