The Week in Review

Here is a smattering of happenings from this past week:

Our week started out with three days of playdates with new friends.  I joined a website called and within 24 hours of my application being approved, we went on two playdates and I had an inbox full of invitations from friendly mothers in my neighborhood.  Orion, not having his toys yet as our shipment has not arrived, is getting a little stir crazy and was excited to play with new children (and their toys!) so this worked out great.


I’m not sure how the topic came up, but Layne asked his secretary, Jenny, “Do you know who L.L. Cool J. is?”  To which Jenny replies, in all seriousness, “Would you like me to set up a meeting with him for you?”

Hmmmm…. I guess she doesn’t know!


Mr. Li is starting to understand my tastes and interests, thus, he invited me to go to the wet market where he does his own shopping.  This place was amazing.  I didn’t get to take any photos as it was very busy, I was watching my kids and trying to shop all at the same time, but will try to document the craziness next time I go.  Mr. Li, being a gentleman, wanted to make sure I was o.k., so he accompanied us on our shopping adventure.  He really made things too easy for me, translating when needed, pushing the stroller when Charlotte had enough and wanted to get out, and loading my bags for me.  He is a gem.  This market was even better than the last one.  It was two long, narrow corridors absolutely jam packed with people doing their daily shopping.  The vendors here were not just meat, fruits and vegetables, they also included cobblers, barbers, tables of trinkets and women with their sewing machines on the sidewalk, ready to take in tailoring work.  Right away the kids and I tried (for 1.5RMB/about 25 cents U.S.) a long fried dough stick dusted with sesame seeds.  Mmmmmm………  I have seen these all around town but have not yet tried them until now.  We walked up and down and stocked up on many fruits and vegetables while feeling like celebrities at the same time.  If I thought our presence in other parts of the city was unexpected for the Chinese, here it was even more so.  This is not a neighborhood where foreigners live, let alone ever visit and we turned quite a few heads.  The children, as always cause a stir and people adore them.  I am thankful Charlotte was strapped into her stroller because one woman actually tried to pick her up and carry her around.  We moved from the produce section to the meat/fish, etc. (let’s just call it the animal) section.  As with other wet markets, this featured live fish, eels, frogs by the bagful, shellfish, snails, chickens, pigeons, etc.  I had to warn Orion not to step in the bowl of chicken heads laying on the ground as we walked by.  Wish we wore our boots–lots of bowls of animal guts and water splashing about.  I bought my eggs from an egg vendor who had on offer about ten different colors and varieties.  Again, so grateful to have my friend Mr. Li with me to tell me which are the “plain old chicken eggs!”  You pick your own eggs and pay by weight.  Such a small thing, buying eggs, but so different from what we are used to in the U.S.  Motorcycles rode up and down the aisles of this market, adding to the circus-like atmosphere.  The prices are so cheap, even Mr. Li was laughing at them.  I paid the equivalent of about $15U.S. for all I bought.  I would have paid at least four times that in the U.S.  I love this place and can’t wait to come back!

Our day's take

Our day’s take

Cartons are for wimps

Cartons are for wimps







At the grocery store this week (a normal one, at least by U.S. standards) I told Orion we could get some ice cream as a treat for all of us.  I gave him a few basic options:  chocolate, vanilla, or mung bean popsicles.  (In China there are a lot of sweet treats made from beans).  You know what the kid chooses?  Bean.  I am so proud of him for being adventurous and always wanting to try new things, but truthfully I just wanted a bowl of chocolate ice cream!  THE VERDICT:  Not bad flavor, but the texture was a bit different, slightly grainy.  When Orion triumphantly announced to his father after dinner that we had ice cream, I told him quickly not to get too excited.  I knew he had visions of a good old fashioned banana split in his head, complete with whipped cream, hot fudge and a cherry on top (not a Chinese bean-sicle).  Though initially dissapointed with the flavor selection, Layne turned out to be it’s biggest fan!

ice cream ice cream2





This week’s challenge:  Lasagna

Orion starts school next week.  As is our tradition, on his first day of school he gets to chose what we eat for dinner that night and I will make him anything he wants.  Last fall on his first day at the Wesley Learning Center in Sandy Hook, CT, he chose pancakes.  For Monday’s upcoming dinner, he chose lasagna.  Ummmmm, really?  Because the last three times I made it you refused to even look at it.  The kid gorges himself on octopus and goat meat, but lasagna?  Never.  We recently went to our building’s movie night where they showed Garfield, thus inspiring Orion’s new apparent love for the meal.  How do I make lasagna in China?  Let’s break it down…

PASTA:  First, they do sell Italian pastas in import sections, but no lasagna sheets.  O is understanding and flexible, so baked ziti was acceptable to him.

BAKING DISH:  I can’t find what I would call a traditional casserole dish, the kind I have a gazillion of, wrapped in paper and sitting somewhere in storage in Connecticut.  Darn, I wish I brought some with me!  I bought the closest thing I could find and hope it works.

SAUCE:  There is no way I am paying $7U.S. for a small jar of imported tomato sauce so I will do what I enjoy best…make it from scratch.  I bought a few kilos of fresh tomatoes from this week’s wet market run and whip up a huge batch with enough leftover to freeze.

RICOTTA:  It’s not even that I am not willing to shell out big bucks for imported ricotta (which I am not), it is that there is none to be found!  So, again, let’s strap on the apron and make it from scratch!  Easy enough…milk, acid and heat.  For the acid, there is not plain white vinegar here so I used Japanese rice vinegar instead and it worked out great.

In this dairy-free culture, our family as been eating many vegan meals and is eager for something ooey-gooey and cheesy.  there is a lot riding on this meal so I hope it turns out great!


One thought on “The Week in Review

  1. Pingback: They Say It’s Your Birthday! | The Lowerys in China

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