Monthly Archives: December 2010

Winter dogs.

We spent Christmas in Park City with my parents and their dogs Brinkley and Enzo. I couldn’t get over how mesmerized they were by fire and falling snow.
We got about four feet of snow in the first few days we were there so the snow was amazing for skiing.
But because this is Hong Kong Housewife, I feel like I must bring China into the picture: a Tibetan Mastiff recently sold there for $2 million US. Yes, seriously. Weighing it at as much as 270 pound and 32 inches high, these are dogs that don’t just look at the snow…
The $2 million puppy was less than a year old and was purchased by a buyer in Dalian. The puppy was rated a ‘best-quality’ purebred. The Tibetan Mastiff is quite ferocious and has historically been used to guard herds, flocks, monasteries, and palaces.
Last month, another black Mastiff made headlines when it was bought for a small fortune and its Chinese-owner literally rolled out a red carpet for its arrival. The dog was then taken home in a big convoy of luxury cars.
As the Chinese get wealthier and wealthier, dogs are more and more becoming a status symbol. In typical fashion, the government is already responding to the influx of dogs with a series of rules and regulations including the ‘One Dog’ policy which mandates one dog per family in the city of Shanghai. They have also legislated the maximum height and weight of the dog allowed based on apartment size.

Given how crazy my parents little Westies can be, I’m quite thankful that they don’t weigh ten times as much!

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December birthdays & Rainbow cake.

I feel so bad for December birthdays. No matter how much we all try… they always get the short-end of the stick. I try to do my very best to do right bey all the December birthdays in my life–and there are so many of them: my Dad, the Mr., two of my SILs, the Mr.’s grandmother, it looks like my godson may arrive in the next week, and my beloved Miss Morgan. Morgan’s mom went out of her way to make Morgan’s December feel like a real birthday with this awesome rainbow cake.

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Merry Christmas!

HKH wishes you and yours a cozy, magical, and joyous Christmas!

The above illustration is from Tasha Tudor’s ‘Oh Joy’ book which is a melange of songs, poems, stories, and traditions. My beloved MIL gave this to me for Christmas last year and I just treasure it–I was so excited to put it out at the start of Advent. Despite the number or iPads (6 million) and Kindles (more than actual books) gifted this holiday season, this book is a good reminder of why there is still a reason for real books. Not only is it out of print, but the illustrations and exquisite borders are most of what it makes so special. Besides the fact that we share a nickname, I so enjoy hearing about Tasha’s family traditions on their farm in Vermont–her life reminds me of what I think life should be like!

Here’s a little more about Tasha from the Tasha Tudor & Family site:

Tasha Tudor (August 28, 1915-June 18, 2008) is one of America’s best-known and beloved illustrators.  Her first little story, Pumpkin Moonshine, was published in 1938.

Mother GooseShe illustrated nearly one hundred books, the last being the 2003 release, The Corgiville Christmas.  She received many awards and honors, including  Caldecott Honors for Mother Goose and 1 is One. Many of her books are printed in foreign languages and distributed around the world.  She also created thousand of Christmas cards, Advent calendars, valentines, posters, and other works throughout her 70 year career.

Corgiville FairCorgiville Fair was published in 1971 and introduced everyone to the wonderful, idiosyncratic world of the Corgi dog. Tasha Tudor was devoted to Corgyn kept them for years having as many as 13 at one time.

Her Vermont home, though only 30 years old, feels as though it was built in the 1830’s, her favorite time period. Seth Tudor, one of Tasha’s four children, built her home using hand tools when Tasha moved to Vermont in the 1970’s. Tasha Tudor lived among period antiques, using them in her daily life.  She was quite adept at ‘Heirloom Crafts’, though she detested the term, including candle dipping, weaving, soap making, doll making and knitting. She lived without running water until her youngest child was five years old.

From a young age Tasha Tudor was interested in the home arts. She excelled in cooking, canning, cheese-making, ice cream making and many other home skills. As anyone who has eaten at Tasha Tudor’s would know, her cooking skills were unsurpassed. She collected eggs from her chickens in the evenings, cooked and baked with fresh goats milk, and used only fresh or dried herbs from her garden. Tasha Tudor was renowned for her Afternoon Tea parties.

Doesn’t Tasha sound like someone you want to be friends with? Luckily, I have a mother-in-law and four sister-in-laws who remind me a lot of a modern version of the Tudor clan. Missing you all today!

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Deng’s pad thai.

One of my resolutions for 2011 is to learn how to make Pad Thai. I got a step ahead by watching Deng make her masterful version when I was in Thailand. Deng cooked for us every night and everything she made was delicious. I thought you might enjoy the pictures… note the roasted peanuts, fish sauce, and the egg pancake rolled up and sliced up! It was delicious and I hope to recreate it in the upcoming year… one thing I will definitely need to invest in is a wok.The interesting thing about Thai food is that the American bastardization is actually quite similar to the real thing… they have all the dishes we think of, like pad thai, chicken larb, thom kha kai, chicken satay, spring rolls. The same can’t be said for most Chinese food, i.e. there is no General Tso’s chicken in China.

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Youku cake.

So the Mr. has been involved with Youku for a couple of years now… they are basically the YouTube of China, only they are an even bigger deal there because there is no real network TV. People produce sitcoms and soaps just for Youku for example. They just IPOed, which was very exciting! So the Mr. had his friend’s girlfriend, who has a bakery called CCSweets in Beijing, send the CEO this cake… it’s so cool I just had to share it with you!
The funny thing is the Chinese don’t like sweets so CC had to decrease the sugar amount by 75% in all of her cakes and cupcakes. Apparently that altered the chemistry of the recipe and she had to re-do everything, from the frosting to the batter. Here are a few other fun pictures of her creations!

Here is one she did for BitAuto’s IPO.

But you’re probably more interested in some of her less corporate projects… isn’t this an adorable cake for twins?

And, yes, the Chinese do know Thomas the Tank engine!

But, of course, they also love Hello Kitty.
And Nike Air!
And of course princesses are universal.

Isn’t this calligraphy painting pretty?

Here is a wedding cake… the repeated symbol in the center means ‘double happiness’ and is used often in anything related to weddings.
I think this is an aggressive ‘best wishes on your pregnancy’ cake!!

The Chinese adore foreign cars… despite the fact that they pay almost twice the price for imported cars because of the insanely high taxes, there are more fancy cars driving around Hong Kong than anywhere I’ve ever been. Isn’t it cool how she captured all of their logos on cookies?
Some little ones enjoying CC’s handiwork.

Here’s a picture of the talented artist behind it all! Now you know where to get a cupcake anytime you’re in Beijing.
I just adore this little bunny rabbit.

And something a little more seasonaly appropriate.

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