God Bless Food bloggers, but it’s possible that this gig has it’s own entourage of assistants. Its so much work, you can’t just savor the moment and eat you have an audience in mind. Nevertheless, talk to me about the MOON!
I grew up partially in a Japanese household where my step-grandmother really tried to please me with food, but I was impossible. My goal was to assimilate thoroughly in to So. California American Culture. Then there was my Dad who could just do anything and nothing wrong or else! His job was always one upping my Mom and planning evil desserts which would sabotage her health regimes, by making fresh chocolate puddings, homemade donuts with powdered sugar, chocolate, lemon in fact he had a bizarre crush on Martha Stewart. He was so agitated that Martha was incarcerated and making designer car plates in the house of indigent women. He said and this is dated “Why didnt they catch Osama instead of Martha! My Dad was a military career man who had to bake for hundreds and cook on KP duty. His real passion other than cooking was studying music with the likes of some amazing bebop and big band composers. He was a consultant to Clint Eastwood for the movie Bird. A very proud moment! He made sure they had the right details.
Later he cooked as a chef here and there but his specialty career wise later was of a more specialized capacity involving military stuff. So, moon cakes and Japanese desserts took a rather large stretch behind delicate desserts of the Far East. I have a lot of catching up to do! Japanese sweets are a true delicacy which are quite similar to Chinese moon cakes as ‘Wagashi’ yet the premise is very different. Aging is simply not part of the default tradition. The wabi-sabi or beauty in irregularity and the mono no aware mystique plays a subtle role. We cry that the dew drops dry yet we revere and venerate transitoriness hence freshness as paramount. Wagashi must be eaten right away, where moon cakes can last almost for eternity.
Hence, since chocolate pudding and most of all homemade pies and donuts, German breads he learned how to make when he was stationed there and he brought back yeast. Now, I am in Chinatown trying to become a connoisseur of moon cakes and frankly I just dont get it! Some have one yolk or two with lotus paste, pine nuts and dried fruit. I soppose it is the Chinese canoli. I am making progress. Ever since I was pretty tiny I have always been the dedicated soldier of the sweets, my job was to get cookies when I was *8 years old and that was a very serious matter. Strangely, and I am allowed some bragging rights; once upon a time when the cupcake craze began 16 years ago at The Magnolia Bakery here in NYC on Bleeker, I was e awaiting the reopening of our tea shoppe and I took a part time job frosting cupcakes at the very place where the cupcake craze began. These look pretty good! Almost like cupcakes.
Alas, the soul of moon cakes is surely more interesting. The autumn moon is natures transcendental delight. The beginning of new life and splendor. The lunar calender makes a lot of sense.