As you might have seen, I had an exhilarating and invigorating time blogging for the Wing Luke Museum’s Chinese Heritage Tour of the American West.
If you haven’t read the blog entries, please have a look. The pace was fast – but good- and the investment in time was well worth it. It’s one of those trips in life that you set time aside to take – well, because it’s unclear when you’ll have time to do it again.
The group of 35 people or so returned to the Seattle area early last week. I’ve been resting up and getting caught up on things on the homefront.
Chinese red lanterns - and their soft, alluring glow - are likely to reemerge in creative productions given the emphasis these days on rich colors in online media.
Recent videos on Vimeo have followed the red lantern color path, including ones by the talented crew at UPPERCASE and Ian Lucero.
Recently, when I passed the Legendary Palace restaurant and its lanterns in Oakland, Calif., I stopped – but not purely to produce something for the Internet.
For years, I’ve been interested in them, especially in learning about the Lantern Festival in my language classes and visiting Chinese cities and towns.
One aspect that I like about China is that residents have embraced these glowing orbs for thousands of years. They are soothing to the eye – especially the contrast at night.
Life is complicated these days. So, it is easy to overlook that tofu made its debut in China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).
That makes it older than the modern version of the hamburger, which started showing up around the 1800s. Yes, Egypt’s pyramids are more senior. But tofu predates the Gutenberg printing press and American-style democracy.
Not bad for food that starts with a roly-poly bean a bit smaller than the size of your fingertip.
As the story from China goes, Liu An, the grandson of a Chinese emperor, lived in Anhui province, which is west of Shanghai. Liu believed in Daoism (Taoism) and sought a long life. So, in 164 BC, he instructed eight of his assistants to discover a medicine, an elixir in a sense, to accomplish his goal.
During this process, the assistants went to the province’s Huainan area, which is north of the capital city of Hefei. There, they used fresh mountain water and soy beans to make milk. They took the milk and added coagulants. They worked feverishly to find the magical formula.
Instead, as the story goes, they created the wiggly mass known as tofu.