Miranda turned 10 years old on August 22nd,
but she decided to wait to celebrate it for about a month, since our friend
Denise was due to arrive then with a suitcase full of presents. As compensation
for her admirable patience, Miranda got to choose the restaurant for the
Her choice: Hot Pot!
Miranda had never had hot pot before moving
to China, but had quickly concluded it was her favorite cuisine after
having it several times during our Plum Island
Fortunately, we were
able to find a great hot pot restaurant nearby that didn't exclusively
serve mutton, since Miranda (out of loyalty to her cute little stuffed
lamb named Calisa) refuses to eat mutton in any variation. Even
still, as this shot of the menu shows, most of the dishes at a hot
pot restaurant are some variation of lamb.
If you look closely at the menu, you'll
notice that this section is titled "Swill". I have no
idea how they came up with this translation, but it is somewhat
|In a hot pot restaurant, you order raw
meat and vegetables, and then place them in a vegetable or meat broth
that is kept bubbling hot.
|In a traditional restaurant (like the
one we went to), this is accomplished via a strange-looking metal
contraption that burns coal. In the newer hot pot restaurants, they
simply take a large metal pot and heat it on an electric burner (more
efficient perhaps, but far less romantic!).
|Now that you understand the basic approach,
the term "swill" might make more sense. You place the meat
and vegetables in the pot, and you "swill" them around.
Or perhaps they mean you swirl them around?
|In any case, if you're sharing a hot
pot with high-energy compatriots who are only too happy to help everyone
else with their swilling, you might end up in a hot pot version of
the game "Twister"...
We made rapid work of the mounds
of meat and vegetables, and soon moved to the evening's main event:
Miranda was not disappointed by waiting
for the suitcase full of gifts, which included an entire new addition
to her growing Playmobil empire,
|and the newly published continuation
of her favorite series by Tamora Pierce!
Then, after the presents came the
final touch: the birthday cake!
This year (in keeping with theme of
unusual cuisines) Miranda decided that she preferred a pie over
Fortunately a nearby restaurant (appropriately
named "Grandma's Kitchen") was only too happy to oblige.
Combined with a quart of local (and yummy!) vanilla ice cream, it
was the perfect ending to a memorable 10th birthday!
Happy birthday Miranda!