Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dumplings with the neighbors

Last night I met my neighbor Michael, a graphic designer and his wife, Manal an accountant  at their home, three blocks from me. Michael had written to me regarding a barbecue place I wrote about in my column in the Miami Herald. Next thing I know he invited me to his bi-weekly Friday night gathering. Then I am helping make Chinese dumplings with Monica and Theresa--they are from China and Taiwan and friends. I stripped fresh thyme and rosemary from the stem and we mixed the herbs with chopped basil and minced garlic with ground turkey, chopped shrimp and spinach to make the filling for the dumplings. Monica directed us and my job making eggrolls at Jins BBQ when I was at university in Carbondale, Illinois came in handy. I placed a spoonful of filling on a round won ton wrapper and smeared beaten egg around the circle, then folded it up to create a half moon and pinched it closed. We steamed the dumplings in a pot with a bit of oil and water until crusted on the bottom and soft on top. Very delicious plain or dipped in vinegar or fish sauce. We all mentioned the fact that today is 9/11. I remember being on day 11 of a trip to India that started September 1st in Delhi. On September 11th I was in Jaipur in Rajasthan. I went to a village fair, rode a camel, went on a little Ferris wheel and ate the food of the desert at a low table with my fingers, mixing dal and rice and scooping it up with torn pieces of blistered flat bread punctuated with hot and spicy chutneys. I rode home with my Indian host and friend and stumbled into bed dreaming of the village fair and woke up at 4 a.m. to pack and head to the airport to Mumbai. I skidded into the lobby in the dusky early hour and grabbed a newspaper. I saw a picture of the world trade center twin towers collapsing and went into a semi state of shock. I knew my friend was on the way to take me to the airport but another part of me went numb. I saw a TV that was replaying the image of the towers going down and I started to cry. What in the world had happened? Then my friend arrived on his motorcycle and with tears in my eyes and a huge ache in my heart we headed to the airport and next thing I know I was airborne on my way to Mumbai where a friend from Miami I met at Rajas little down town eatery met me and took me for a bite to eat and comforted me in the hour of no mans land. So there I was in Mumbai on 9/11

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