Lovely readers , I start with a confession, one that will be less painful if we get it over with quickly, band aid style (although hopefully with a little more style than Band Aid): we don’t cook and bake glorious treats every night. We don’t even cook and bake non-glorious treats every night. What with work and after-work socializing and LSATurday/Sunday/everyday and our generally Sex and the Cityish (Sex-y and the City?) lives, dinnertime can feel like yet another task to get through, instead of a delicious conclusion to my eight-hour-a-day eating habit.
This presents something of a dilemma because I’m what might euphemistically be called a “good eater,” i.e. someone who can think of nothing worse than skipping a meal (exceptions being skipping weekend breakfast in preparation for brunch, or skipping a day’s worth of meals in preparation for all-you-can-eat sushi). But skipping a meal without having a bigger and more delicious meal looming isn’t in my repertoire. So on days like today – when I left work late, ran a million errands, realized I forgot my wallet at work and had to sneak back into work without revealing my presence to my workaholic boss, and then came home to clean our apartment in preparation for my mom’s upcoming visit (just kidding, Mom! Our apartment always sparkles!) – I turn to my favorite back-up plan: the frozen dumpling!
Right now, we’ve got all our bases covered (or at least all our bases but home plate), with three dumpling choices. First, there’s the super-authentic Tasty Dumpling
($13 for this huge bag of shrimp dumplings), which Alison learned the hard way cannot
be microwaved when she ended up eating doughy, raw dumpling for lunch last week. Then there’s the high end Wei Chuan
dumplings – and seriously, get the high-end ones, recognizable by their dot matrix packaging. This isn’t just because I’m pretentious, it’s because they’re the most delicious. And last, there’s the the Trader Joe’s dumpling, which are luckily not branded with the mildly offensive Trader Ming’s imprint, because then we might have to feel guilty about loving them so much. I’m partial to the Wei Chuan because a) they taste heavenly, b) they require just enough preparation that I don’t totally
feel like I’m having a frozen unhealthy dinner, and c) that preparation is like a badass science experiment, in that you have to keep adding more cold water at precisely the right moment.
The real secret to dumpling success, though, is the sauce, as Alison and I were reminded over the last few weeks when we took a class that amounted to a White Hipster’s Guide to Chinatown at the Brooklyn Brainery
. Our pantry is now well-stocked with three kinds of soy sauce, catsup manis, and my personal favorite, Chinese black vinegar. If our kitchen had storage space (you know, more than the one drawer), I’d literally buy it by the gallon.
The only downside? A dramatic chopstick/vinegar/dumpling accident that resulted in me having to spray OxyClean all over my white dress at midnight. (Of course after keeping a white dress clean through a day of tacos, noodles, and a burger, the deceptively simple dumpling was my downfall.) And yes, I was eating dumplings at midnight… why do you ask?