Not Toasty


Shanghai is famous (at least among the expat population) for being freakin hot and miserable over the summer and bone-chillingly cold and miserable over the winter. This means I have nearly endless (and boring) writing material about the weather. All that to say, folks! It’s cold outside! It’s been down to about 4 degrees C at night and up to, maybe, 9 C during the day. Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense to any of you back home, but it doesn’t to me, either. Jesse always computes it in his head for me. He’s not here, so you all get is the TV’s version of the weather. The real problem with this cold (which is not so cold, I know) is the same issue we had up north in Japan in winter. Houses aren’t insulated or provided with sufficient air-warming devices. Our “heater” is actually our air-conditioner, and unfortunately for it, when the weather reaches it’s typical extremes both in summer and winter, this device fails to either cool or warm up the apartment. It’s just too “breezy” in here. I can feel the air wafting in even 8 inches away from each window. Where all the pipes – be they water, fan, or AC related – exit the apartment, there are large holes in the house around them, like the workers misjudged the width of the pipe by 3 times. On the gustier days, there is literally a breeze through the apartment. So, anyway, it’s cold!

On a positive note regarding the coldness, Jesse and I have been spending more time in at night, with me cooking, rather than eating street food, so our bowels have been a little less disturbed (only a little less, though. I believe I will not be regular until we’ve been back home for a few months). Especially fortunate is the wintery, bone-padding food I’ve been making, which is adding to our bulk to keep us a bit warmer at night. Seriously, I made Alfredo sauce last night! I’m hoping all summer it will be too hot to cook or eat, so we can lose this weight. I really need to stop making dessert. In the month since we bought the (glorified toaster) oven, I’ve been industrially proving to Jesse just what I CAN do with a little butter, flour and more butter. My latest best-dinner-ever was Chicken Chili Verde and beer bread. All made with random interesting substitutes that are possible to find in China – no poblano peppers or tomatillos here. The beer bread was awesome and easy. Very yeasty and dense and I used dark brown sugar, so it was extra tasty.

I could talk about all the decadent dishes I’ve made over the past few weeks, but that’s probably only exciting for me. I have updates to make on my 52 books list but haven’t gotten around to it. I am currently reading Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and can’t put it down, so I think I’ll go back to the book!


One response »

  1. Amy Kate, hello from Hat Creek! I thought I would share my helpful hint for translating degrees C to degrees F. Just double C and add 30 to get F. So if you have 4C that is close to 38F and 9C is close to 48F. It is not exact but it works pretty well most of the time.
    Love you….

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