Archive for December, 2011

Communication is Key

Writing a letter is not a foreign activity for me. Due to the fact that I am nearly nocturnal, it would be normal for my friends to be asleep, disabling me from text messaging or instant messaging them. So what better way to update them than with a letter? I decided to write to my cousin, who is also my best friend. We went to different Elementary and Intermediate schools, but we have both attended the same high school- Oak Grove High School. Now that we’re off to college, life feels so different without her in my life- incomplete, almost. I mean, we do talk with each other every now and then, but how much chit-chat can we really fit into our busy college schedules, right? Mailing this letter felt a little weird for me, because when I write letters, I normally wait until I see that person another time to give them the letter. I think that I usually do this because I’m giving myself a type of reassurance that good-bye isn’t really good-bye. That no matter what happens, we will always have another moment together. It doesn’t matter if it would be next month, next week, or next year. I just needed to know that the future will always hold more reunions for me and my best friend. Actually putting the stamp on my letter was a new experience for me during this activity. It reminds me of the feeling we would have when we want to send a controversial text message to someone, but debate with ourselves for the longest time until we finally build up the courage to press the ‘send’ button; we wouldn’t be sure whether we would regret sending that message or if it was ‘for the better’, but the only certain thing is that there was no turning back. Finals are just about over for UCSD, so she will be home soon for me to personally update her with my life myself. Either way, sending that letter was a big relief. It made me feel as if she was listening to me even though she wasn’t physically next to me. It made me feel a bit less lonely. It made me feel like wanting to write a letter every time I needed someone to talk to, because it allows me to pour out my feelings without showing anyone my scrunched up crying face, or my awkward giggles from reminiscent memories. In a generation where technology reigns supreme, I hope that the art of writing letters does not die out.

A Mixture of Cultures (Major Post 3)

So I interviewed my friend, Evonne Ttran. She says that the most favorite thing that she likes to cook is boiled ramen noodles with hot links and eggs. “It’s quick and easy, and tastes really good,” she states. This dish is really convenient for her schedule because it can me finished within minutes, without having to sacrifice the taste factor of the meal. This dish is also able to be eaten at any  time of day- seeing how in Vietnam, it is not uncommon for a person to be eating savory noodles for breakfast.  She also added her own touch of hot links and a boiled egg, which are not Vietnamese factors.

The idea of a boiled egg on top of noodles originated from Japan. The boiled egg is supposed to add contrast to the noodles because of the texture of the two ingredients- being that noodles are more soft and the boiled egg is more hard. Boiled eggs are very popular with the Shoyu-styled soup, versus the Miso, Shio, and Tonkotsu soups, which have no boiled egg in them. Boiled eggs in ramen are very popular in the Tokyo and Yokohama regions of Japan. Sausages, on the other hand, have a more mysterious origin, since it is one of the most oldest known prepared foods.

The main part of this dish is the noodle itself. In Vietnamese, it is called “Mi”. In the Vietnamese culture, there are different types of noodles such as egg noodles, rice noodles, and wheat noodles. All of which can also differ in thickness and shape. Noodles are served in many different ways. They are served as soups, dry with sauce, dry and fried, and in other different methods of cooking. Noodles and rice play the biggest role in the Vietnamese diet.

Being a person of Vietnamese descent, it is very typical for Evonne’s favorite dish to consist of noodles, but having an appetite for a food that is rather plain in flavor, the sauce or the soup of the dish plays an important role on the taste of the overall dish. Vietnamese cuisine is usually composed of many herbs such as Thai basil leaves, bean sprout, mint leaves, coriander, and lemongrass, which enhance the flavor of the food without needing to use much oils. Fish sauce and soy sauce are also popular flavor enhancers for the Vietnamese diet. With these ingredients, Evonne is able to make the soup for her noodles with sausage links and a boiled egg become harmonized with one another in flavor and texture.

Her philosophy on food is that she lives to eat. She feels that taste should never be sacrificed in a meal because certain ingredients should be used to enhance the flavor of another ingredient versus just eating to ‘fill the stomach’. Although she is a person of Vietnamese descent, she feels that ingredients in a dish should not be restricted to only one culture. She feels that many different cultures cultivate flavors from their own cuisine, but combining certain flavors allows for a new taste that accommodates to what she is used to tasting based on her background and the taste that she enjoys eating as an individual.