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Beijing, China — I hadn’t seen my friend Cristina in a while. 2011 was a magically prolific one for her as she zipped about Asia, touching down in Beijing for 24 hours at a time. Somehow, Cristina found time during her jetset lifestyle to start her beautiful food blog FlavorfulFilipina. Even while globetrotting at warp speed, she manages to post quite often. What is her secret?!
Last night, Cristina swept into Beijing and brought over some comfort food. After two days in a row of cooking and washing dishes from Chinese New Year feasts, I was more than happy to relinquish menu planning. That’s the control freak in me — I’ll make all the decisions or none at all!
Cristina brought over some goodies she bought from Apothecary; buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken coating — secret fried chicken recipe mixture by chef Max Levy. She also brought a big bag of chicken legs, wings, and breasts; corn on the cob, a couple oranges and a fennel bulb for a fresh salad.
I may love cooking and going a little nuts over details, but there’s nothing quite as simple and heartwarming as pouring two glasses of Laphroaig whiskey and giggling while coating chicken parts! Cristina calls our chitter-chatter, chismis — a Filipino word for ‘gossip’. While Anthony Bourdain claims food tastes better with shoes off, I believe food takes on the spirit and flavor of the conversation. I’d have to say the same goes for sex.
We steamed the corn, she sliced the salad fixings, the biscuits were warmed, and I burned only three pieces of chicken! I mixed up a little dipping sauce of chili oil with soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. We washed it down with a Cabernet and a few great self-deprecating jokes, then wondered why we hadn’t made a habit of this — the dinner, not self-deprecation. Oh yeah, ‘life is what happens when your busy making [dinner] plans‘.
I can’t hold on to people forever. My mother likes to remind me, ‘nothing is permanent‘ and she is right. I will say, however, I have forged some very meaningful friendships with the friends I’ve made in Beijing. Even those who have moved away have become the sort I see again and feel like not a moment has passed. I have two girlfriends leaving Beijing this month (Kristine and Cristina) and while my heart breaks, I know in our future there will be more whiskey, wine, cooking, eating, and spicy chismis.
There are two sides to every story; Cristina divulges more details and how to make her citrus fennel salad, in Comfort Shared at ShowShanti.