More craftsy stuff and Joong

I finished knitting my first proper project, i.e. I bought the yarn and the pattern specifically to make a hat. It’s orange wool, with a tassle in each corner. It took me a week on circular needles. I sent it to my cousin in Vancouver. She shaved her head, because she’s undergoing chemo for breast cancer. I just hope it’s not too itchy. Otherwise I’d say her husband can wear it, but he also shaved his head in solidarity with her. There’s a really touching photo of them bald together on his blog.

Before that I had knit an improvised beret in beige, cream and turquoise. It was way too big, because I was lazy and hadn’t properly gauged the yarn, which was from a hodge podge assortment I got from a thrift store. I knitted it on double-pointed needles to learn to use them. And then I washed it in soapy hot water, to experiment with felting. I found out that felting only works on wook, not acrylic. The cream protion was wool, the beige band and the turquoise top part weren’t. I gave it to my friend to give to her brother, because he has big hair/big head.

Maybe I’ll post photos of the knit projects on flickr. The next things I want to knit are bright flourescent green yellow arm warmers for biking. And finger puppets.

I need to go back and get into hooking my rag-rug, a black and white salmon.

The weekend before Labor Day, we went down to San Diego. where Joe’s mom taught us how to make joong (bamboo leaf wrapped around a core of glutinious rice and assorted meat stuffing.) She usually makes heaps every year to distribute to family. They last forever in a freezer. It’s traditionally eaten during the Dragon Baot festival in June. Right now, it’s closer to the Mid-Autumn festival, where we eat mooncake, but hey that’s how real life schedules work.
While joong takes a lot of time to make, because you have to prep the all the ingredients (soaking and chopping), the trickiest part is folding the leaves into a sort of cone to hold in the ingredients and then tying it up so that it stays together when you boil them. That takes a lot of practice. Be prepared for a lot of lop-sided joong when you’re a beginner.

I always associate joong with the scene in Wayne Wang’s SF-based “Dim Sum” (a 1985 movie). The Chinese widow has died, the daughter tries to make joong, but withour her mom around, she doesn’t really know how it was done, and gives up. I think she then consoles herself with a visit to McDonald’s.

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2 thoughts on “More craftsy stuff and Joong

  1. joong. have not made this in a while. i thought you steamed them? might account for difficulty in assembly.

    Is this a chinese dish? for some reason i thought it was taiwanese?

  2. It’s Chinese. Devised as a fish-proof way to feed the drowned spirit of a Chinese official. I don’t know how the dragon boats tied into it.
    The steamed thing you’re thinking about maybe the Cantonese nor-mi-gai (at dim sum). It’s sticky rice/chicken/mushroom/lapcheong wrapped in a lotus leaf, and steamed.

    I’ve seen a steamed tube of rice wrapped in saran wrap at Taiwanese restaurants but I can never order it right, because I don’t know what it’s called. I wonder what they used before saran wrap was invented.

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