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TOPICS INCLUDE; The First Seventeen years; Kudos; Vinegar in pouches; Needed Tibetan butter churn picture; Mango pudding; White crab mushrooms; Sun moon scallop

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Letters to the Editor

Spring Volume: 2011 Issue: 18(1) page(s): 6 and 7


From HELENA via e-mail:
Thanks in advance for continuing to count items annually in Flavor and Fortune. Helps readers realize how valuable this magazine is on the web and in hard copy. Reading about Chinese food is second only to tasting it, so keep up the great work. The editor's award, shown in Volume 17(3), was well-deserved! HELENA: Thanks for your compliment. Here is a rough tally of the first seventeen years. Why rough, because many recounts gave assorted numbers, all close but none equal:
Articles: 625
Authors (by issue) 140
Book reviews: 440
Recipes: 1,425
Restaurants Reviewed/discussed: 535
Topics in letters & Newmanís News & Notes: 490
Hope everyone enjoyed the more than three thousand six hundred fifty items in these past sixty-five issues. Your mail and that of others keeps us on our culinary toes!

IRVING writes in an e-mail:
F&F Volume 17(2) was great. Especially liked the editor's article titled: Shandong, Home to China's Earliest Societies and the one by Mary Lou Heiss titled Tea Harvesting in China and Taiwan. Both were outstanding!
IRVING: Thank you for your compliments, we appreciate the compliments, quite a few agree with your assessment; we appreciate criticism, too.


LEANDRA wrote from IRELAND:
Was in Queens and saw these plasticized metallic pouches of fruit vinegars; can you tell me and others what the Chinese use them for?
and
AMANDA inquired via e-mail:
Besides tea and alcoholic beverages, what other beverages do the Chinese consume?
LEANDRA and AMANDA: They do drink boiled water, hot water, and warm or room temperature water. They drink the water vegetables are cooked in, and they drink health-type beverages such as the fruit vinegar whose pouch you forwarded. The Chinese deem vinegar healthy for many conditions, but why these particular flavored ones, we know not. Their packaging says it is 'good for you' and 'packed with lots of nutrition.' But the reverse side's 'Nutrition Facts' box reports no fat, no dietary fiber, no cholesterol, 20.1 milligrams of sodium, 6.3 grams of total carbohydrate of which 5.8 grams are sugars, and 0.2 grams of protein. Drink the entire pouch and one gets 28 calories. This item has 4.93 fluid ounces which is a scant coffee cup's worth. OK, it does offer some hydration, but very little flavor, and not much else. Furthermore, vinegar is third of the four ingredients after water and peach juice, and before fructose. With no nutrient greater than two percent, how much nutrition is that?

TERESA via e-mail:
Received the Summer 2010 issue of F&F. Once again, I am impressed with what you have done for Chinese cuisine. Every forty-page issue is packed with history, diversity, flavor, and dining tips from all over the world. How did you do it; is it by traveling and eating your way across time and space?
TERESA: Thanks for your comments and kudos. We also accept and appreciate criticism; see next letter.

From CHARLIE via e-mail:
A few issues ago, and I just got to read my copy. Wang Si, who wrote about Tibet, spoke of a butter churn used by Tibetans. Her pictures were great, but none was of that item of equipment. Can you rectify that?
CHARLIE: No, but can one of our readers?

From TEDDY via e-mail:
Enjoy your magazine and look forward to the article about mushrooms. Does your market sell White Crab Mushrooms?.
TEDDY: We have seen them in our market, even purchased them. In web-exploration, we did find a few folks to ask and learned, as one chap told us, white ones, not found in nature, are a licensed mushroom strain. He says Hukuto licenses their use, and recommends we ask if the ones we saw from Fuzhou are licensed by them? However, we are not the mushroom police. We know these mushroom are also known as beech mushrooms, and in nature, they can be vrown. Elizabeth Schneider wrote about them in Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchine published in 2001 by HarperCollins. If your library does not have it, ask interlibrary loan to get it for you. Schneider says these mushrooms are Hypsizygus tessalatus, also calls them 'clam shell mushrooms' and shows both brown and white ones. She advises confusion exists about these mushrooms, and agrees with Paul Stamets who devotes many pages to them in Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms published by Ten Speed Press in 1993.

From MARTIE VIA E-MAIL:
I love the mango fruit when very ripe and wonder do the Chinese make a really good mango pudding with fresh mango?
MARTIE: Popular the first time I went to Hong Kong in the 1970's, we can personally attest they do. Had one I adored early on at Maxims there. Also, had a great one at Xings in New York City; it was discussed and shown in Volume 13(2) on page 29. Here is another one and we hope you like it. A picture of yet another rendition is in the hard copy of this issue.

From MILLIE via e-mail:
A few years ago you showed a poor picture of an herb, do not recall its name. It had a tail-like appendage and was, I think, from the sea. Because I forgot its name, I cannot locate it in any of your index listings, nor have I located it in any Chinese herbal store. Help! Help!
MILLIE: The item in question, we believe is called 'sun moon fish' and it was discussed in Volume 11(3) on page 7. It appeared with a recipe by Ng Siong Mui from her Health, Beauty, and Rejuvenation Cookbook. This herbal also goes by other names including: Moon Scallop, and Sun Moon Scallop. In Chinese it is known as ri yue yu and their traditional medicinal doctors (TCM) believe folks who smoke or drink too much should consume it often. They also say it is good for lungs and spleen. We have learned a lot since Linda answered our first call for help. We did see it in an herbal shop in Chinatown, and learned that this moon scallop is a shellfish whose shells are round and red like the sun on one side, white like the moon on the other. One report we read says they are getting hard to find due to ocean contamination. People should be aware that several imitations are available. Real ones are sold dry, some with a light salty exterior, and most with slight sea aroma. They are pictured in the hard copy of this magazine as is a dish made with them. For those using them, we recommend rinsing them, soaking in warm water for half an hour, discarding this water, then cooking them. There are pictures in the hard copy of this issue; they are from Irene Chan's book titled Home Dishes with Dried Seafoods. It is reviewed in this issue. Check it out!
Mango Pudding, Hong Kong Style
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons plain gelatin
2/3 cup soy milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 very ripe mangoes, peeled and mashed
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup heavy cream for decor
Preparation:
1. Make syrup in a small pot mixing two cups cold water with the sugar and the gelatin. Let rest half an hour, then Bring to the boil, and allow to cool before stirring in the soy milk, cream, mango puree, and the diced mango.
2. Add one and a quarter cups of ice cubes, stir well, and pour into individual serving-size molds and refrigerate.
3. After they are set, remove each pudding form its mold and set on a small dessert saucer. Pour a little of the extra heavy cream for decor over each individual mold and serve; or put the cream in a small pitcher and let each person take some if they wish.
Old Cucumber Moon Scallop Soup
Ingredients:
1/4 cup red beans
6 to 8 moon scallops with tails left on
1 old (yellowed) cucumber, seeds removed, sliced, not peeled
1/2 pound bones, blanched, the water discarded
1 two-inch piece tangerine peel, soaked for twenty minutes, water discarded, then diced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Preparation:
1. Soak red beans and moon scallops in water for two hours, rinse, discard the water, and mash the beans.
2. Put cucumber pieces, mashed red beans, moon scallops, and the bones, into three quarts of water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, skim if needed, then simmer for two hours before discarding the bones.
3. Add tangerine peel pieces and the salt and simmer another half hour, then serve.
Note: One can add a half carrot peeled and sliced, half pound Chinese yam also peeled and sliced, half cup corn kernels, five dried seedless longan cut in half, one-quarter teaspoon ground white pepper, three slices fresh ginger minced, and 20 goji berries when adding the tangerine pieces. Then do not simmer but boil for twenty minutes to make this dish a northern stew-like dish.Old cucumber Moon scallop Soup ients:
1/4 cup red beans
6 to 8 moon scallops with tails left on
1 old (yellowed) cucumber, seeds removed, sliced, not peeled
1/2 pound bones, blanched, the water discarded
1 two-inch piece tangerine peel, soaked for twenty minutes, water discarded, then diced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Preparation:
1. Soak red beans and moon scallops in water for two hours, rinse, discard the water, and mash the beans.
2. Put cucumber pieces, mashed red beans, moon scallops, and the bones, into three quarts of water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, skim if needed, then simmer for two hours before discarding the bones.
3. Add tangerine peel pieces and the salt and simmer another half hour, then serve.
Note: One can add a half carrot peeled and sliced, half pound Chinese yam also peeled and sliced, half cup corn kernels, five dried seedless longan cut in half, one-quarter teaspoon ground white pepper, three slices fresh ginger minced, and 20 goji berries when adding the tangerine pieces. Then do not simmer but boil for twenty minutes to make this dish a northern stew-like dish.

                                                                                                                                                       
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