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Plum wine, green tea, black rice, chicken feet: And to think that I saw it on 38th Street

March 17, 2007
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Saturdays at our house range from the very routine to the very serendipitous.

This morning, for instance, I was singing Psalm 13 very quietly. My husband was washing something in the sink. The water stopped running. I became self-conscious: I don’t exactly have a solo voice. Psalm 13 in the Trinity Psalter is assigned the tune, “Passion Chorale,” familiarized by the hymn, “Oh Sacred Heart Now Wounded.” Although I know this tune perfectly well, I made up a tune for the Psalm. I finished the last verse, unmediated by running water. Then my husband came out of the kitchen and said, “You have an Irish soul.”

That did it. I’ve been longing to go to Ireland, but with my own health and my diabetic cat who’s never been boarded, it remains a fantasy in green. And as would happen to intensify the longing, the most incredibly beautiful photo calendar of Ireland came to us, of all things, as a premium with our Trinity Psalters. As soon as I’d unpacked the Psalters a few months ago, I immediately contrived to move to County Antrim, where fields are green and sheep are white and the ocean is the deepest frothy blue. The cliffs are rugged and high…and my husband is quite tethered to the American legal system. Snap.

So today we went to the East Asia Market, where we can get the most delicious things very inexpensively and with more entertainment than the movie we decided not to bother going to see.

We glanced by the meats: spiny fish; other fish folded in unusual ways; raw chicken parts in uncovered bins: wings, legs, thighs, and feet, all in a row. Now, we have five hens, and their feet are not appetizing to contemplate. But the ones in the bin looked as though they’d been washed and bleached. We passed on the chicken.

The East Asia Market also sells Hispanic foods, and I found a jar of nopales I’d been unable to get anywhere else. We bought a can of lychee fruit, thinking how delicious they would be with our Haggen Dazs chocolate sorbet. Chewy ginger candy. Gunpowder tea, over a pound for $3.99, compared to $2.75/oz anywhere else. And my favorite food: steamed buns in three varieties: vegetable, custard, and sesame. We also bought a 5-pound bag of black glutinous rice, because I loved the black rice pudding I’d had in Thai restaurants, and my husband loves gooey rice. I love the way Asian food always comes in colors. And we decided to try a bottle of Choya plum wine, a product of Japan. It’s exquisite, like sweet sherry. I feel disloyal, but suddenly I have a new favorite wine that it is not from the Columbia Valley.

We stopped at Lincoln Hardware to see the owners, friends who go back to our first days in town. It’s one of the last family-owned independent hardware stores in America. I’m always heartened to see they are prospering. They still run your total by hand.

When we came home I found a simple recipe on the Internet for the black rice, and it turned out perfectly gooey and delicious and a beautiful purple-black. We enjoyed it with steamed vegetable buns and rib steaks, followed, of course, by chocolate sorbet and lychees.

Adventure came without trekking international concourses and showing up in Ireland when it is probably still cold and wet, and without worrying about His Royal Preciousness the Cat.

Once again, I give God the glory for such a simple form of contentment.

  1. rachelelizabeth permalink
    March 19, 2007 8:20 am

    Mmm… Sounds like quite the feast. I want to have an adventure such as yours!

  2. March 19, 2007 9:16 am

    You, RE, have temerity mete for 38th Street. I would consider you an adventure-worthy companion.

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