Thursday, July 26, 2007

I like Chinese.

I have very vague memories of junior high. I'm sure I learned something in the academic classes (I have a memory of having filled out Punnett squares, and of having read things, and having done some math) but I don't remember specifics as to the content. My memories of social awkwardness are themselves foggy, as they are obscured by memories of more recent social awkwardness. What I do remember vividly, however, were Home Ec., Woodshop, and Chinese Cooking.

In Home Ec., we sewed checked pillows and made muffins. One of the cooking tests was to make pancakes; I can't remember if we had to have the recipe memorized, or if we got to use a recipe at the time. The muffins I distinctly remember as having been delicious; Michael Prokop and I were partnered for that assignment. Mrs. McDonald distinctly said that we had to pour water in the muffin tins, and so we put about a tablespoon of water on top of the muffin batter, and threw that in the oven. It turns out that we were supposed to have put water in any empty spots in the tins, and not in the ones that had batter. But those muffins were delicious (they were blueberry) and moist, and had a good crumb, and were perfect. If I remember correctly, other people's batches were dry and overcooked.

In Woodshop, we made napkin holders, and useless decorative items, and I made a bookshelf for videotapes that to this day holds videotapes (because, you see, my parents still keep such things around.) We made nametags with the jigsaw.

Chinese Cooking class was the one of those three that wasn't part of the Carlstadt Public Schools' standard curriculum. It was offered as an after-hours elective to the seventh and eighth graders, and it didn't cost anything. It had limited spaces, and you basically had to turn your permission slip in the day after it had been sent out to get a spot. The teacher, in my mind his name was Richard Yee, but I think that I'm making that up. My dad can't remember what his name was, either, but thinks that he was a garbage-truck driver in his non-Chinese-cooking-enthusiast hours. Weird, no?

Anyhow, I remember making shrimp toast, which made me feel faint (that's before I'd come to the conclusion that I'm allergic to shellfish), and egg drop soup, and wontons, and stir fried things. and egg fu yung. Even though I don't make any of those things now (well, I did make some wontons the other day), I think about them on occasion. And today, I find myself wondering: did anyone else have cooking class as an after-school add-on? Did anyone else out there go to the Carlstadt Public Schools Chinese cooking class? Wasn't it the best thing ever?


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