Friday, March 16, 2007

The One Where I Attempt to Answer Your Questions

Most of the searches that land on my blog are for specific recipes or restaurants. I also get some rather interesting queries that I thought were worth sharing.

To the searcher asking "how to fold chopstick rest"

This is what I do when I'm dining at a restaurant that serves disposable wooden chopsticks. Slide your wooden chopsticks out of the back side of the wrapper.

Fold wrapper in half so pretty printed side faces out.

Fold the wrapper again in quarters.

Now, fold it again length-wise.

Pinch in the two outside corners so it looks like a little roof.

Voila! An instant chopstick rest for when you're dining out. Your chopsticks need never touch the table. Disposable elegance. :)

If your chopsticks are fused at the bottom, please separate and rub them against each other to get rid of splinters.

My friend once recounted a story where she was dining with a white co-worker. They were given plastic chopsticks, and the white girl started rubbing the two chopsticks together. My friend asked what she was doing. White girl replied that she thought it was an Asian tradition to rub chopsticks together before a meal.

I chuckled so hard. The lesson learned: Always ask if you don't know why something is done. And something that's obvious to me, might not be so to someone else.

Of course, I've repeated this story many, many times. And I always give credit to my friend who shared the incident. Many years ago, I dated this guy who would always take the things I said and pretended they came from him. In particular, we were eating with my brother and cousin, as I was doing my little chopstick holder thing, he started to tell them about the rubbing plastic chopsticks story. My brother got this weird look on his face, as if he's trying to hold in his laughter, and trying to decide whether to be polite and refrain from telling the guy that he already heard the story from me! I had no such compulsion. Anyone who's silly enough to take my story (actually my friend's story) and repeat it to me, while pretending it's his, needs to be set straight. Boo!

To the searcher asking "why coffee in gravy"

That's called red-eye gravy. According to this source, red-eye gravy is made from salty ham drippings and coffee.

When I first came across the mention of red-eye gravy (In a Western romance. And they say romances don't teach me anything...), I always assumed it was an invention of leftover necessity, as so many other recipes seem to be. The coffee would give a nice dark color to the ham. Or if no drippings were available, add cream and flour to thicken coffee and instant red-eye gravy was born.

To the searcher asking "is cha gio the same as goi cuon"

No. Cha gio are Vietnamese fried egg rolls. Goi cuon are Vietnamese salad rolls made with fresh rice paper. Hopefully, they figured that out by looking at my recipes for cha gio and for goi cuon and compared the two.

To the searcher asking "[one of my cousin's name] and [name of her school]"

Go away you!

I immediately called to let her know about any potential crazy stalker.

And then to cheer her up, I said, "Maybe it's that cute boy you've been eyeing."

"Oh, chi (Vietnamese term of respect for older female) [my name], stalkers are never cute," she said, while I pictured her shaking her head at me.

"Of course," I said, "otherwise, they'd be called boyfriends." ;)


  1. I love the chopstick rest; quick clever!

  2. Oops, I meant quite, not quick. Course, you're clever enough to have figured that out. ;)

  3. Hi Susan,
    I knew what you meant. After all, I do know everything. ;)

  4. That looks a whole lot like the old Michael J's restaurant. It's been years, but it's nice to know it turned into something fancier.

  5. LT,

    Are you referring to Brasserie Astuce? It's just past Garey. Michael J's is at the corner of Foothill and Fruit. Unless it relocated?

  6. The Guilty CarnivoreMarch 17, 2007 at 9:03 PM

    You should feel lucky with the quality of your entry points — a common query term for my site is "gayfu".

    Just sayin'.

  7. Guilty Carnivore,
    I do get a lot of Google ads asking if my car has "gay pride" though.

    My cousin thinks it may be the rainbow-colored scarf I'm crocheting...


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