Some people have asked about my e-mail address and blog name. What’s with all this “burping” mania? Why burp? How disgusting/funny/interesting/cool!
There is actually a very valid reason why I choose to use the word “burp.” As embarrassing as this is to confess, I am a huge burper. There. I’ve said it out loud. I burp louder and longer than any big, fat, beer-guzzling, ESPN-watching couch potato out there. I am known far and wide for my burping skills. In fact, when I left Singapore for America, my friends compiled a nice little farewell album for me, in which they all left a sweet message, and every single one of those messages included the sentence, “I will miss your burps!”
Yeah. Not my intelligence, my wittiness, or my absolute fabulosity, but my burps. I’m not exactly thrilled to be identified by my burps, but I’ve come to embrace it.
That said, I don’t burp out of my own will. Why would I ever want to be stuck with an image of social inappropriateness? They just slip out on their own. I blame my genes. Everyone on my dad’s side are burping champions. Seriously. My grandpa’s burping skills put my own to shame.
I remember the one time when I was about 12 and I was visiting Korea, and I was staying at my grandparents’ house. Before I go on, I’ll let you know that I have never been very close to my grandparents, as we lived half the continent away and could only visit once every two years at the most.
One morning, My grandma cooked a big pot of Korean miso soup for breakfast. That put a scowl in my face, because I hated miso soup. Actually, I hated any Asian food, but miso soup was just one of my least favorites, especially the stinky Korean kind. So I sat there picking at my rice and barely touching my bowl of miso soup.
But meanwhile, my grandpa was guzzling it down like it was a bowl of golden nectar from the gods. He slurped up each spoonful noisily, going “AHHH!” and “Mmmm!!” with every mouthful. The sight of him enjoying this simple bowl of miso soup so much made me suddenly crave for the same experience. What the hell is so great about miso? All of a sudden, I, too, wanted to enjoy my miso soup, so I decided to give it another chance.
I picked up my spoon and gave it a cautious taste. And you know what? It tasted magnificent. I don’t know if it was because of my grandpa’s influence or my grandma’s amazing cooking, but I finished every last drop of that miso soup, albeit with less moans of ecstasy than my grandpa.
And at the end of it, we both burped out loud in unison. My grandma shook her head in disgust, muttering, “Like grandfather, like granddaughter.” But my grandpa and I shared a secret smile, and at that moment I suddenly felt myself sharing a close kinship and bond with him.
Here’s the sad part of the story, though. My grandpa just passed away last year due to stomach cancer. Because at that time I was still severely underweight, I was unable to attend his funeral. I regret it so much and it weighs heavy in my heart that he died without seeing me fully recovered. Up until his very last breath, he worried for my health even while he himself was at his own death bed.
But I take comfort in the thought that he is now up there in heaven, rooting me on as I fight my way through recovery. Grandpa, this lunch today is in memory of you:
The base: 1 cup cooked pearl barley
The mix-ins: 1/4 cup black beans, 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash, sliced crabmeat (imitation)
The dressing: miso paste mixed with water
The toppings: sprinkle of furikake (dehydrated seaweed and fish and sesame seeds) and a sunny-side egg
This is just another variation of my “Mix-it-up” bowl again, starting out by sautéing onions and garlic first, then dumping in the base and mix-ins, then the dressing, and finally ladling the mixture into a bowl with the toppings.
I have to say, no miso was ever as good as that bowl I had with my grandpa. I soon returned back to avoiding miso soups, but no longer harbored the same distaste I had for it before then.
This bowl of miso pilaf was warm, comforting, and satisfying. I kept the water to the bare minimum so that the broth was thicker and more gravy-like than normal liquidy miso soup.
It was simple, much less fancy than my other “Mix-it-up” bowl creations, but still very, very good. Highly recommended for any cold nights, or if in need of some major comforting.
Some awesome news today!
1. Kiki tried out my “Mix-it-up” bowl! Hers was a Greek-Italian fusion, and these were her mix-ins: 1 cup cooked barley, splash of EVOO, 1/4 cup feta, Sicilian lentil pasta sauce, and kalamata olives. Gosh, that sounds so yummy! This is Kiki’s response to her “Mix-it-up” bowl creation: “Not attractive, but yumskies.” I beg to differ, Kiki, but yours looked amazing! Check out her blog for the delicious-looking picture!
2. And now, a huge standing ovation is in order for
every single fruit in my header-banner! The correct answer was: kiwi, pear, dragonfruit, orange, and grapefruit! I’m pretty impressed, I must say! Great job, Jiaying!
3. I really liked the Q&A section last time, so I’m opening up to any more questions today! I might even make that every Thursday’s question of the day.
So, before you leave, guys, remember to ask me any questions you want! I promise to answer them!
Buai buai, and until next time!