Staying for dinner?

Category: By panda_eyed
The other night, I was talking to my friend and her sister, who are both vegetarian. They were interested by the 'weird' food I've eaten. Being Chinese, I guess we eat a lot of stuff that other people might think strange. Then coincidentally, I was over at Chez Pim's site (she's a food blogger) and was interested to see this article.

So let's test our weird parameters - what are the 'weirdest' things you've eaten, and what on my list do you consider weird? Let's see, I have tried:
  • Grilled frog (my cousin's wife apparently caught and grilled them herself in Thailand)
  • Chicken tendons and feet (pretty standard in dim sum)
  • Duck tongue and beak (pictured)
  • Pigs ear (crunchy, tendonous and yummy)
  • Snake (lots of little bones)
  • Eel and Conger eel (again, so many bones!)
  • The offal of various animals (inc. liver, heart, kidney, intestine, stomach)
  • Sea snails
  • Squid, cuttlefish, octopus (mmm..)
  • Abalone and all sorts of shell fish
  • Rabbit (in a paella)
  • Ostrich soup
  • Chicken bum skewers (bizarrely on xmas day in Taiwan)
  • Chicken blood (like black pudding)
  • Sheeps head (in Dubai)
  • Fish eyes
  • Sucked the (cooked) marrow from a bone of pork with a straw
Some of these things are pretty standard in Chinese culture. You see, the Chinese waste nothing, we eat pretty much all of the animal. You might be surprised to know that most things on the list were very enjoyable, except for the frog (my cousin had pond-breath, it was that fishy).

I'd quite like to try crocodile, I hear its texture is like that of a steak. I wouldn't mind trying kangaroo either. I would probably try pretty much anything, but I stop short at raw meat and fish, and insects. In China, I have seen street vendors selling buckets of large, dead cockroaches - yes, people actually enjoy eating them. I also hear that in South Africa, people relish eating Mopani worms - big fat squidgy grubs that live in dead tree trunks. And *gasp* in Korea and some parts of China, people still eat dogs. I know I will incur the wrath of all animal lovers (and don't get me wrong, I love dogs too), but I'm curious as to what it's like! I'm told that it's a strong tasting, tough textured meat that needs a lot of broiling (so my grandma says).

Even though I was born in London, I don't understand the reluctance of Westerners when it comes to eating anything other than the main cuts of chicken, pork, beef and lamb. Why the hesitance, and sometimes even disgust, of eating the rest of the animal? We honour the sacrifice of the animal by eating it all. Would you believe that before the 60's, eating spare ribs and duck was unheard of? It's pretty much the norm now. I wonder how our eating habits will change in years to come.

Your turn!

Panda's day at the beach

By panda_eyed
On Thursday, I took a much deserved day off and went to Brighton. Summer really is over - there were about 3 people on the beach! It was a breezy day and grey at first, but the sun came out at intervals and warmed us up. We sat on the pebble beach and threw stones at the sea. The waves tried their hardest to reach our feet. We ate fish and chips and had icecream, just like you're supposed to do on a British beach. It didn't really matter that I had to wear a scarf and a cardy!

Then on to the cliffs at Beachy Head. Words can't accurately describe the beauty of the place. Pictures don't do it justice either. Standing on the edge of a cliff, with the wind blowing in your hair, you can see miles and miles of blue sea. Big inky clouds loomed overhead and threatened to rain but the sun broke through and shone its rays upon parts of the sea, lighting it up. It was so beautiful.

It's times like that which make you realise how small and insignificant you really are. The vast expanse of the sea always has a calming effect on me. I can gaze at it for hours.

Apparently, Beachy Head is a place where many people go to commit suicide. I can sort of understand why. It looks and feels like the gateway to heaven here. The edge of the cliffs was littered with memorial plaques and flowers. Sad huh?

It wasn't too windy on the day we went, but to demonstrate how windy it can get up there - look*! The trees all grow in one direction, and permanently look like a ferocious wind is bending them back - this shot was in fact taken when there was no wind whatsoever. It made me giggle!

*I can't seem to add photos anymore - blogger is being annoying, so have linked to Flickr

For baby Hannah

By panda_eyed
I have a few posts to blog, with pictures, but today, I think the birth of little Hannah takes precedence. Congrats to Mylozmom and hubby on their new little girl!

After looking at Flighty's blog, and the lovely poem he posted for Hannah, I was reminded of a poem I wrote a good few years ago. It would have been appropriate had I posted it before the birth, but nevermind, today I dedicate this to little Hannah:

Little bundle

Warm, cosy, muffled sounds
Soft walls, completely surround
This snug little place is your protection
’Til you’re ready to proceed in our direction

I am your cocoon while you grow
Providing shelter and warmth ‘til you’re ready to show
Inside my body, you lay in a curl
I’m proud to be your vessel into this world
I imagine your features, perfectly formed
I’m your safety, keeping you warm

Into my life, you were injected
Better than anything ever expected
But little bundle of cells, you’re my bundle of joy
Can’t wait ‘til you become a little girl or a boy
I can hear your heart beat, fast yet steady
I have begun to love you already
You’re a miracle from heaven that’s been sent down to me
I promise to protect, cherish, and love you for eternity

Panda in a bit of a mood

By panda_eyed
I must have PMT because I am incredibly tetchy today. Someone just leant over my desk to talk to the person opposite me on the other side of the divider, and squashed my papers with her big-arse flabby stomach in the process. Is it me, or is that incredibly rude? Walk around, you lazy biffer! See what I mean? I'm being a horrible b*tch and I don't even care.

It doesn't help that my aches and pains have reappeared today - they disappeared when I went to see the consultant rheumatologist on Friday, and decide to return afterwards. Typical.

The rheumatologist surprised me. He was small pudgy man with limp, doughy and slightly clammy hands, and throughout the examination, I wanted to giggle. It was like being examined by a lump of unbaked dough. Of course, he was watching my face for signs of pain, so I tried to keep a straight face as much as possible. He found some inflammation in the lining of my patella but not much else. I had a chest x-ray to check for infection and I need to go back later in the week to have more blood taken for tests :( 8 vials! They'd better give me a cup of tea and a biscuit. Humph.

Animals on the Underground

By panda_eyed
Leg room on the London Underground is a precious commodity - we already have to travel in cramped and uncomfortable conditions, and this is the one tiny little 'comfort' we have left. So, when someone puts their shopping in your leg space, it's not surprising that you get annoyed and suddenly territorial. The lady sitting opposite me this evening, on the way home from work, in a 4-seater booth, had a bag of groceries and stores it, not under her own legs, which is the unspoken etiquette of tube travellers, but right there in my leg space. Lady, what do you think you're doing?

There is a loaf of sliced bread right inbetween my two feet. So when I move my legs, as you do when you've been sitting in a confined space for any length of time, I accidently nudge the bread with my foot. Lots of exaggerated tutting ensues and she makes a huge show of shuffling bags round, although this bread still ends up in the same goddamn place when she's done. How much did I want to stick my size 5 straight into the heart of the loaf??

All the while, she has been sniffing away and wiping her nose the way a small child does, before they know any better. You know the one - wipe with the back of the hand, pushing upwards, starting from the knuckle to beyond the wrist. I. Was. Repulsed. To make it worse, in between wipes, she was digging around her nostrils with her fingernails. For crying out loud, use a tissue!

Multitasking to the extreme here, this eloquent lady was eating a bag of McCoys crisps - not normally mind - but one tiny itsy bitsy nibble at a time, chewing each nibble for minutes. As a result, she'd eaten about 3 crisps in the 40 minutes I'd been sitting there and it was driving me insane. I sat there wondering if I would be justified in snatching the bag from her and stuffing the entire packet, wrapper and all, in her gob. She didn't even stop the back-handed nose wiping all the way through this. Who can say they don't love this reasonably priced, clean, spacious London transport, full of the most delightful people?!

Anyway, if I know that I don't have enough room to move my legs, they start to ache - it's probably psychological, but it hurts. I almost longed for yesterday's journey home, when another delightful lady put her bag of heavy shopping on top of my feet. Bemused, I watched her, and waited for her to realise and remove the offending item. Upon realising that this wasn't going to happen (and that, yes, she was just that inconsiderate), I asked her to get the friggin' bag, the f*k off my feet. Not really, I did ask politely, but I would have said that, had I not been raised to be a nice girl. She did remove the bag and I was rewarded with many dirty looks and zero apology. Londoners!

Enough of ranting, check out this cool link - animals on the underground - I don't seem to be able to post pictures on blogger tonight, but it's amazing the things people can see in a tube map.

In other news, I found some strands of blonde hair amongst all my black curls today - cue blonde jokes - I have been called 'blonde' in the past, but this is ridiculous!

Also, I think I may have BB withdrawal when it finishes this Friday - how sad does that make me..? What will I do at 9/10pm every night? *Sobs* Does that mean I'll have to get myself a life..?!

Green fingers

By panda_eyed
No, I haven't had an accident with the paint, I'm refering to my first venture into growing edible things in the garden. Back in April, I bought some little seeds on a whim. I planted them into some small pots, added water and some love, and watched as they grew into seedlings. In May, I planted these in the garden, and they grew into humungous proportions. Look!

Those big yellow flowers are courgette flowers. Apparently, they are a delicacy in some circles, but I've never tried them. See the little courgettes on the plant?? That's me holding my biggest and most beautiful specimen. I'm like a proud mother! I'm looking forward to my bumper crop at the end of the month.

Some of the courgettes start to wither before they grow to a good size, but that's not terrible, as baby courgettes are just as yummy! I also planted some strawberry roots, but they didn't even peep through the soil. Ah well, maybe next year!

Not bad for my first attempt at growing things, huh?


By panda_eyed

Morning all. I’m feeling a bit delicate this morning. I had rather a lot to drink last night at the office summer party and celebrating being promoted. We were in the Soho Lounge and everything was kindly paid for by the company in a one-off act of generosity, including entry, nibbles and £2500 behind the bar, which meant that I didn’t pay for a thing.

Despite feeling a bit queasy this morning, I am strangely craving all sorts of food – spicy chicken burger, noodles with lots of chilli sauce, pizza, Thai green curry and meat in general. I don’t think I’d feel all that great if I ingested any of these, but it doesn’t stop me craving them. Bleurgh.

More office secret were divulged last night – mostly idle gossip, such as crushes, but also some interesting hostilities between colleagues. It’s interesting to see the ‘real’ side of someone, after the alcohol causes their mask to slip off, and you can really see the ugly, venomous side of their personality emerging. Sometimes it takes that side-effect of alcohol to make you really see that person for what they are.

Anyhoo, I’d better at least try and get some work done today. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and I look forward to hearing about them! xx


Management *edited*

By panda_eyed

At work, I have a manager only 3 years older than me – here, you get promoted according to how long you’ve been working for the company, it seems. I had my appraisal meeting yesterday. Normally, they are long, boring, officious meetings, full of managerial type talk (i.e. bull****), but yesterday’s appraisal was actually rather fun.

We spent the majority of the time complaining about the company and the job, and it lead to some surprising revelations. I feel a bit better about this job now that I know there is someone who feels the same.

I think the whole meeting can be nicely summed up by this:

Manager: *looks up at ceiling, inspects all the walls* “God, I really hope this room isn’t bugged”.

It makes a nice change to have some fun at work!

*edit* 10/08/06: Oh my goodness - I've just been promoted - how ironic is that??

Hamster heaven

By panda_eyed
Thanks to all you guys who were rooting for little Tachie. Unfortunately, he passed away on Saturday.

For a while, I was hopeful that he was going to be okay – on Friday he came out and ate on my hand. He still didn’t seem himself – his walking wasn’t too stable, and he didn’t run in his wheel at all, but I thought that would pass. When I went to check on him on Saturday, I could sense he had died as soon as I walked into the room.

With Boris, I was sad and shocked, but she has never been that healthy, and I guess it wasn’t a huge surprise. Tache though, has always been active, happy, healthy and inquisitive. Ever since his ‘accident’, I knew that there was a chance that he might not be okay, but had tried not to think about it.

When I found him, I didn’t feel that sad – just resigned to it. I busied myself with finding a nice box to put him in, cleaning his cage out, thinking about where to bury him. And then all of a sudden, I found myself sobbing. I had gotten so attached to the little thing, and the thought that he had lived for 2 days (possibly in a lot of pain) after his accident, or that he was heartbroken over his sister, made me soo sad. Perhaps it would have been better if he had died in my hand that day, instead of having to endure 2 more days of pain.

That night, I cried for Tache, for Boris, and for Pebby (my tame-as-a-dog hamster that died at the New Year). The very thought that my nieces, who last week were so enthralled by the two little hamsties, and who are coming back on Thursday, made me blub even more. What will I tell them when they ask where the furries have gone? I can’t bear to disappoint them like that.

Ironically, I did manage to get that video of Tache doing his acrobatic trick - see here. (Thanks Jia, for the tip). It's really bad quality on there for some reason - but looks fine elsewhere. Ah well, you get the idea.

I buried Tache yesterday, next to boris, in the back garden. I like to think that they're running on hamster wheels, eating all their favourite foods, and looking down on their children from hamster heaven..

Sad news - Boris &'Tache

By panda_eyed

(..This blog carries on from the one before.)

On Wednesday evening, I came home to discover that Tache had escaped from his cage. I couldn’t see how, as the door was still shut, and there weren’t any holes. I caught him and out him back in. On further inspection, I couldn’t see Boris in her cage either, and was perplexed as I couldn’t see how she had escaped either. After searching for her for a while, I discovered that she was in the cage after all – her little body was shrivelled up and contorted, as if in pain. She had passed away fairly recently, because rigor mortis hadn’t properly set in (takes an hour or so in rodents). We buried her yesterday. I was sad. So, it seemed, was Tache – he didn’t even come out for a run that night.

Yesterday, I discovered how Tache had escaped on Wednesday. He had done his acrobatic trick of climbing to the roof of the cage, and then squeezed through the bars at the top, because he’s so small. I found this out because, yesterday, I walked in to find that he had squeezed his head through, then slipped or gotten stuck, and he was literally hanging from the bars by his neck. He was barely still alive, and in a panic, I pulled him out, and held him in my hand, praying that he’d come around. He was all limp, and his eyes were half closed. I was almost crying because I thought he was going to die, right there in my hand. 10 minutes later and he had started moving again, so I put him back in his cage, where he stumbled back into his little house. I think he may have been starved of oxygen and incurred some brain damage, as his movements were like those of a stroke victim. He hasn’t emerged since, so we shall just have to hope and pray that he is okay, otherwise, he might have to be put down. My poor baby boy.. I’m so very very sad.

I have yet to break the news to Sez – I know she’ll be upset. With Boris, it wasn’t such a surprise – the poor thing has lived through some terrible things, and we knew she wasn’t too well. But for this to happen to Tache, just 24 hours later is a bit too much for me. I didn’t expect to get so attached to the little monsters when I adopted them in March, and never expected to feel so upset by this.

The way I found him, so shortly after his sister’s death – it kind of makes me think he was trying to commit suicide. I know it sounds silly, but he has seemed very depressed since Boris died. I don’t think it will be too long now before he loses the will to live either. After Boris and Tache, and my previous hamster dying in the New Year, I don’t think I could possibly have any more pets. It hurts too much when they pass away. Please everyone cross fingers for Tachie..


Since I last blogged properly..

By panda_eyed

Wow it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Lots of things going on – some good, quite a bit of bad – which has left me a bit depressed. There’s some stuff going on at work which I won’t talk right now, because it’ll take too long to explain, but I’m having a bit of a crappy time. As for the rest, I’ll try and sum up as best as I can without going into too much detail, otherwise we’ll be here forever.

My grandma (from Hong Kong) stayed with us for a week. She is blind and very frail and has to have her carer with her. She is a terrible hypochondriac and all she wants to do is take pills – it doesn’t even matter what they’re for anymore. She has become increasingly forgetful now, and 10minutes later, will have forgotten that she took any pills at all, and will want to more. At one point, she was smacking and slapping her carer, accusing her of withholding her medication. How sad it is, to see loved ones grow old.

Last weekend there were 13 people (all relatives) sleeping in our house! My cousin who now lives in Japan came to visit with his family. There were 3 small children. I think I got about 3 hours sleep that night, what with all the crying and early wakage of children. I also have bruises all over my legs from playing footie with an 8 year old. Violent things, kids are.

On Monday, our car got scraped by an idiot woman who was turning right at a junction. I can normally keep my temper under control, but not when provoked. Not only did she not apologise, but she kept maintaining that she had right-of-way (how..? you were turning right!!). I was just going to take her details and move on (there’s no point assigning blame right there), but she was shouting in my ear, so I told her to ‘please be quiet’. She told me I was too rude and needed to be kept under control (what, like your driving..?) and I don’t really remember exactly what was said after that, because the red rage took over and I had a GO. Imagine that every other word was interspersed with profanity. I’m not proud of it, but it felt good at the time.

On Tuesday I went to see the Rat Pack at the Savoy Theatre. It was brill – delicious melty voices, good instrumentals and more entertaining than I expected. I was in a blissful bubble during some songs - it's funny how happy music can make you feel.

I'm going to post the rest into a new blog now - don't go anywhere - I have some very sad news :,(


Take a deep breath

By panda_eyed
Panda has a headache and is dizzy and her throat and ears and wisdom tooth hurt and she wants to die or go home and sleep and relax but she has to work and then go to the pub for someone’s leaving drinks and she hasn’t slept in so long because people have been round her house with children who cry and wake panda up at 6am :(

And she doesn't have time to blog properly.