Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Chinese Grocery Trip
I still owe you all a post on nopales which is going to be up tonight, but in the meantime I thought I'd share the pictures from my jaunt with La Donna Tittle (from the cooking show "Cooking With Tittle") to the Chinese grocery store in North Chicago last Friday. I took her to get some of the basics and to peruse the medicinal/cooking herbs section and it was a lot of fun! While I was walking through that section myself, it hit me just how amazing Chinese cuisine and medicinal cooking is that it is still flourishing and accessible to the layman and not just a TCM practitioner. In China, 'eating your medicine', is alive and well I'm happy to report and I can only hope that it can be in many more places (North America and Europe to be more specific) at some point because in these places it seems we are more caught up in how to diet than what to eat and when. Food should be the everymans medicine!
While we ambled through the medicinal herb section and I went along explaining the different functions of what was available, I started to feel in awe of TCM once again. I guess it is much like being a tourist in your own country all over again, it opens your eyes to the possibilities in a new fresh way. So, I am happy to guide people through there anytime as I learn just as much as them! And it really made me miss living in Beijing, a lot. La Donna went home with herbs for EVERYthing! One of my favorites which I will definitely post about here is pang da hai, this is a seed the size of a walnut that you put in a cup of hot water and it expands much like a chia (spelling?) pet. You let it sit for 5 minutes then you drink it, it is for a dry raspy throat and all the Chinese opera singers use it. La Donna is an actress so this works perfectly for her. Some other herbs of note that she picked up where the Chinese red and black dates, very good for your qi (overall energy) and blood and very tasty and mildy sweet to boot. Below are some pictures of the aisles as we went through them. We even attracted a few of the local customers coming over to talk to me about the different uses and we exchanged ideas/thoughts - for me, that was the pinacle of the visit! I am a complete medicinal food nerd...
A picture of the medicinal herbs/ingredients
Happy La Donna
Me, incredibly happy with my favorite thing: chilis!!
The wonderful selection of different sardines, which are very good for your bone strength - next time instead of drinking milk (which is not really all that once you are an adult) eat some sardines!
Betel nut is something I grew up around in Asia, it is very good for expelling parasites and for suppressing hunger. I will post about it another time.