Monday, December 3, 2007


My son has the ultimate faith in my ability to cook.

Ever seen the movie "Spirited Away?" There's a scene where the main character, Chehiro, is sitting on a balcony with her friend, Ren, and they're eating these hand pastries stuffed with meat or something. I have no idea what they are called, but you know, just about every society has some sort of meat-roll or pastry that can be held in the hand.

Anyway, the Impossible Son came in here and asked me if I remembered those things. Took me a minute (between coughs), and I said, "Okay, yes, I remember them."

"They look really good, huh?"

I have learned to be cautious. "Ye-e-es," I said slowly.

"Could you make those for me?"

*blink blink*

"Right now?"

"Yeah!" he said with great enthusiasm, his head bobbing as he smiled at me, full of confidence that Mama Can Do It. After all, I brought kittens back from frozen death, what's a few Japanese meat rolls, right?

"Er... well, hunnybunny, um... for one thing, I'd need a recipe..."

"Great! I'll get your cook book!" And he was off to the kitchen.

I do not have a Japanese cook book. Yet. And I knew the book he was heading for, which admittedly (and surprisingly) has a few Japanese recipes in it, but... um... not what he's looking for. It's a Fanny Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook that I lucked into at a Half-Price Books in Houston, published somewhere in the 50's with all these references to the original publication in the 18 70's or such. Great book. One of the luckiest finds I could ever make, because it fell open at certain pages and had foodstains on it... meaning, it was used a LOT. In other words, a family treasure that some thoughtless person had tossed into a box to be sold without realizing what it was. Oh, well, their loss is my gain!

Anyhow, Mr. Manzie comes trundling back with that book in his hands, beaming with confidence, and I'm just... stumped. "Here, Mama! You can make it now, right?"

How on earth did I ever produce this person??

Flailing mentally, I said, "Well, there's still the problem of ingredients, and you know me, Little Man, I like to sort of study over a recipe for a few days before I decide to give it a whirl."

"Oh," he said, nodding wisely. "You want to fiddle with it."

He knows me so well!

"We'll see. Let me do some research on the Internet and see what I can come up with."

So... I've bought myself some time, but... if anybody out there knows what the hell those things are, and how to make them, please, please, PLEASE give me a clue!! Knowing Mr. Manzie, he'll pop up in three days... "So, Mama, you ready to make those things yet?"



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