Sunday, January 17, 2010

When things are not as they seem.

What  are these?

What are these?

If you put them side by side, can you tell what they are?  Are they the same...or different?  Which one would you put in chili?

What is this?  Is it a slow cooker?  Could you use it as a slow cooker?  If the sales person assured you in Chinese that yes, it could be used as a slow cooker, would you think it was a pressure cooker?  Are you sure?  What if all of the directions were written in Chinese?

Please feel free to laugh at this story.  We did.
When we first arrived in China, we went to Metro, the big grocery store to stock up on kitchen supplies.  I wanted a rice cooker and a crock pot.  We saw both and then we saw this glorious, shiny machine.  We looked at the picture- rice, vegetables, meat!  We asked the sales lady-of course you can cook things slowly in it.
Okay then.  We bought it. We made stew.  Which took about 15 minutes to cook. Thus confirming that it was a pressure cooker. Not a slow cooker.
What do you make in a pressure cooker?  Beans for chili of course!  No canned beans here-that's for foreigners!
We had friends over on Christmas Eve and I made stew and a big pot of soup.  I bought beans from the grain man at the store-he is next to the fish woman and the meat family.  Less than a dollar for a jin of dried red beans.  I soaked them over night, and cooked them in the steam cooker.  They did seem a little firm but who likes mushy beans anyway?
The chili was a hit and eaten very quickly.  I actually never got to taste it.  In the middle of dinner, some one asked if there were peanuts in the stew.  I quickly dismissed that notion and we went back to eating.
I would have forgotten about this except that Paul occasionally mentioned the peanuts in the stew.  I'm sure he was laughing with me, not laughing at me.  The other day I asked him to go to the store to get some red beans.  A friend sent me a magazine from the USA that featured a recipe with red beans. So Paul went to the store to buy red beans.  He talked to the grain man and asked him about the bin with red beans....which are actually red peanuts.  Yes, it's true.  I soaked and pressure cooked red peanuts for our  Christmas Eve stew.

So which are the peanuts and which are the beans?  You can probably tell from the pictures..but could you tell if they were in a big grain bin?  I couldn't.  But I can now!


Anonymous said...

That is funny! It must be quite the adventure learning to cook over there! Have a wonderful week. Sarah for the crew

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

Oh, that is hysterical!

Sarah said...

Good story. Reminds me of a time that I bought bean popcicles in Japan thinking they were strawberry. (The picture was very deceiving.)

I wish you well! I know the simplest things like basic survival aren't always easy when you're a foreigner. Godspeed!

(Just found your blog via Sarah Bessy on fb. I'm in ESL too).

Carrie said...

Thanks for stopping over at my blog... nice to meet another blogger in China! So glad I'm not in an even colder place. :) So this is random, but we have the exact same pressure cooker, and we found it can be used as a crock pot. You just turn it to the warm setting and lightly place the lid on top -- you don't seal it so it won't pressurize. Maybe you figured this out already, but thought I'd tell you it works like a charm in my opinion!!