Who's the Boss?
No, this is no reference to a horrible 80's sit com. This is about this woman. Mrs. Guan.
About 20 minutes before having this picture taken, she'd removed her apron to reveal her 3 piece suit and matching pumps. She had just cooked a 8 course meal in a single wok and fed 15 people. Now, she was back to the business of running her enterprise - her farm; and later, she'd be mother and wife. This woman, now she's a Boss.
Here's the meal she cooked; everything was fresh and succulent.
Chicken wings, several different kinds of green veggies, note the one at 8 o'clock with the red liquid; there was also bamboo, and seasoned clams, and large, fat sardine like fish with spearmint leaves (at about 9 o'clock at the table) - this was my favorite dish of this entire trip. Oh, and that's not juice on the table - that's hooch. Moonshine. Some insanely strong clear hard alcohol flavored with Yew berries. Which, to be fair, have anti-cancer properties, so there's probably some kind of balance of good-for-you vs. bad-for-you ratio when you drink it that makes it ok.
Here is one of the yew berries. They're cute, tiny, and taste a bit like pomegranate. But that moonshine, I only had a thimble full and that was more than I could handle.
And the best part - this is how she cooked the rice:
This is a REAL rice cooker. It is a shaft of mature bamboo that has tiny holes pierced in the bottom, which is a natural joint of the bamboo tree. The lid was fashioned from another natural joint and fits perfectly. The rice is rinsed and put on the wok with boiling water over a wood fire. Remember, she's not just cooking, she's tending the wood fire under the wok WHILE she's cooking- that alone would drive me mad. But she's steaming the rice perfectly. Then, she proceeds, in full suit, with apron on, like this
to cook this 8 course meal. There in the corner is her one luxury - her refrigerator. Everything else came from the dowry cabinet behind her.
Outside, it looks like paradise, here is one corner of her spectacular farm,
around back is her garden, with fresh lettuces,
and fresh ginger grown in nutrient rich soil
and her tea tasting house is across the street.
Many people in China and in WuYiSan have hard labor jobs, or non-stop work conditions, but I truly have yet to see anyone with more grace, hospitality, or class than Ms. Guan.