Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Cake Bucket

We finally did the cake bucket! Let me explain... one of the guys here, his name is Shea... he makes these ridiculously awesome cakes. He interned at a bakery and picked up the skills quickly. He is our resident cake maker... So, when he gets the cake ready to stack into to tiers and decorate he always has the extra scraps. So this is how the story goes. Last year, he made a wedding cake and he had lots of cake scraps. One of the girls was jealous that he didn't share his scraps with her. My details may be wrong but she likes cake scraps from a bucket. So Shea gets a bucket, ties a rope to the handle and lowers it to her window from the roof. and she opens her window to receive the yummy scraps of scrumptious cake. So, yesterday he said to me that their were cake scraps left over from the last cake he made and offered me some. So I suggested he do the cake bucket. I am glad to say that I have gotten the sacred cake bucket... It was really fun. There's a video from last year they took... I'll have to load it later. But here are some pictures from the night of the cake bucket.

The cake bucket being received at the window

Becca retrieving the cake

Me eating the awesome cake.

Another little add on...He added this mixture of peanut butter and chocolate to the middle layers of the cake instead of frosting... It made it super moist. The idea for the mixture came up one day at dinner... We are always trying to be more creative with desserts here, seemingly there are not good ones. So we had bananas and I went to get some peanut butter and chocolate, then I mixed the two together and it made a frosting like goo. It was really good. Shea tried it and is now using it in his cakes and cupcakes! :) Two creative minds working together... makes really good cakes.

This is what I categorize as some of the crazy-documentable things that go on here in Peter Hall. Hope you enjoyed a peak into my fun little world this year!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Disappointing Snacks...:(

One day I was at the bakery and was hoping to find something comparable to chocolate cake... Well I saw a box that said "Chocolate Cake" on it. I was happy so I bought it. I failed to look closer in the box (my first mistake). When I got home I opened the box anticipating this glorious (or as glorious as it can get for Chinese cake) chocolate cake.... and this is what I found:

You can understand my utter disappointment. The cookies were thin, hard and filled with some kind of seed that made my mouth react like it does to walnuts... YUCK.

After I had recovered from my saddening experience, a few weeks later I go with a friend to another bakery on campus. There they have much more comparable sweets to what I am used to. I decided to pick up a small package of donuts... I didn't see the label on the box until after I took the first bite.

They look harmless enough but the package says : "Dry Snacks"

They tasted like month old donuts that had weird flavoring...Note to self: Never buy sweets in China and expect anything what I am used to!

Spring at SIAS

Spring here has been very beautiful but still pretty chilly. We had a couple of nice days (most of which I was sick!) But this last week it was back in the 40's. :( But I got a few pictures of the blossoming trees before they were all gone, I always seem to miss them at home, usually due to the season at work, all the teachers understand...and working here part time really pays for the spring time!

Some of the trees in bloom around campus are peach blossoms and pomegranate trees. I dont know about the rest, but they are beautiful.

Funny thing, the word for pomegranate in Chinese is "shi liu" (sure leo) which is also the same word (but different character) for the number 16. I found that they were pomegranate trees because a friend and I went downtown and she bought a small tree/shrub... she guessed it might be a pomegranate tree and when we were walking back, some of the ladies that do gardening at the school all said "shi liu". I asked as I pointed to the tree... they responded with "dui" which means yes/right. So it was a fun day figuring out trees and succeeding at Chinese!

Like I said, I dont have a clue what these are so if you have any ideas, feel free to post them!

I am wanting to make a few videos of a virtual tour for you all to see... Maybe they will be done by the next month or so!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shaolin Temple and Farmers Village

This weekend we all went to Shaolin Temple in the city of Dengfeng (or at least its close to there). It wasn't as exciting as Xi'an or Thailand but it was nice to have something different than the hustle and bustle of other trips. We went to a kung fu show at Shaolin temple:

There was a time in the show when they asked for volunteers to mimic the moves of the kung fu masters. One of our own foreigners was chosen to participate!

Later we headed to lunch and then to the Pagoda Forest... if you can imagine what that is like then your guess is as good as mine was.

So I don't actually remember what the name of this place was, but it was right before we went to the Pagoda Forest... Got lots of good pics there.

As for the enormous incense sticks... that was in front of a temple area where people could come see the Buddha statue.

Later that day we went to a Farming village and had dinner in the farmers' houses. The village was really neat and we got to see a traditional Chinese farm house, much different from the ones I have seen in the states.

This is the road leading to the village...

This is the kitchen and bed room in one of the homes.

Our delicious dinner! All of us foreigners packed into one of houses before we left.

If I had to choose my favorite part of this trip it would be the Farmers Village. I loved seeing the quaint and homey living spaces of the locals.