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Thursday, 31 January 2013

OTTAWA, DIM SUM, and . . .


Spring, 1967

For 3 years, I had been working on a double major in Psychology and English.  Now, I was graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba, and needed a job. 

One morning, my friend, Carolyn, asked me if I’d like to come along and write a test for a government job.  The IQ test led to an interview and then a letter offering me a first class ticket on the Canadian Pacific Railway to Ottawa.  Dad drove me and my trunk to the station in Brandon. 
    
That year, 3 groups of junior executive officers were hired by the Public Service of Canada, with about 30 in each group.   With another trainee, I shared a bachelor suite on Lisgar Street, right near the Parliament Buildings. 

Margot introduced me to Sunday Dim Sum breakfasts in a big downtown Chinese restaurant. The moment I bit into my first sweet, chewy Sesame Paste Ball, I was hooked. 


It was an amazing year!

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It’s disappointing that so many restaurants no longer have Dim Sum carts.  I always like to order at least one new thing, and it was so much easier when the waiters lifted the lids on the little bamboo containers and you could see and smell the tempting morsels.  

I especially hope that newcomers to Dim Sum may not be disappointed and discouraged.  In Hong Kong, the menus at least have pictures.  

Here are some of our tried and true favorites -- I've indicated who likes to order what:
      
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Everyone!)

Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce (Anastasia)


Barbecued Pork Steamed Buns (Bryan)

Sesame Paste Ball (Guess who J)
 (The color of the filling varies.  This one is filled with black sesame seeds.)

 
Steamed Baby Squids in Curry Sauce (Me again)

 Custard Tarts (Eleanor and Bryan)

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All delicious, but I couldn’t eat like that every day.

Nothing wrong, though, with making my everyday breakfast a little more exotic.


 COCONUT PINEAPPLE PORRIDGE  (from CHATELAINE MAGAZINE)

When you make 2 servings of oatmeal porridge, just add ¼ cup unsweetened coconut and ¼ cup drained, crushed pineapple.  

Top with brown sugar – yum!