Flower pepper

Flower peppers

Blog #12

3-16-18

A mutual friend introduced my wife and me while we were working at a government lab NIST. She always liked to share her Chinese culture with me. One night we went out to eat Chinese food. The menu had a spiciness scale for their dishes:

* : Spicy

** : Very spicy

*** : Extremely spicy

# : Numbing

“#? Numbing? What is that?” I though. That must be super spicy!

A few weeks later, this Chinese girlfriend brought me a real Chinese lunchbox that she had cooked herself. How romantic!

In our large NIST cafeteria maybe there are a few hundred people eating lunch and two microwaves to heat up lunchboxes. So, typically, there is a lot of waiting for the microwave.

My wife (girlfriend at that time) brought me a hot lunchbox and went back to heat up a second lunchbox. She told me to start eating and let her know what I thought. I opened the lid of the glass lunchbox and the steamy rice and veggies looked pretty good. There was a spice scent inside I did not recognize and so I started eating. About the fourth or fifth bite, something inside my mouth stuck me like a needle. I stopped chewing. Was it a piece of broken glass? What was this sharp thing? I spit out the food into a napkin. Then, my mouth started becoming numb. It felt like a dentist had given me a shot of anesthetic. I must be having some kind of food allergy! I stood up to find my girlfriend (wife) and she was already on her way back with lunchbox #2. I said “something is wrong, there was a sharp thing in the food, and now my mouth is going numb”. She just said “yes, that’s flower pepper.” At this point I still don’t know what flower pepper is, so I am still pretty worried.

I said – “I don’t know what is happening to me, my mouth is going numb.”

She said again, “oh, that’s just flower pepper. It is a little numbing”

“Numbing?” I asked “The food is numbing?”

Fun fact: Numbing is a hard word to say in English when your mouth is numb.

And then she added “maybe I added too much? I don’t really know how to cook with it.”

Well, it turns out I survived the flower pepper. She showed me what the flower peppers look like and it turns out about 1/5 of the dish was flower peppers. Some of them when dried can be quite sharp! All in all I learned that flower pepper is actually numbing, and that dried flower pepper can be quite sharp. And that Sichuan people are pretty bold.

You can read more about this spice here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-szechuan-peppers-make-your-lips-go-numb-5668606/

一个朋友介绍我和我的太太认识。以前我们在同一个国家实验室,NIST工作。这个中国美女(我的太太)总是给我介绍中国文化。一天我们出去在中国饭店吃晚饭。他们的菜单上有辣度排名:

* 辣

** 很辣

*** 非常辣

# 麻辣

“#?” “麻辣?” 我觉得很怪,不懂它的意思。应该是非常非常辣的。

差不多三个星期以后,这个中国美女准备了一个盒饭给我。她自己做的。好浪漫。

在我们公司的餐厅,有两百人但只有两个微波炉,所以常常需要排队用微波炉。我的女朋友给我一个热的盒饭,她说了,”你开始吃饭,我去排队“。这是一个玻璃饭盒。我打开盒饭盖子,闻到一阵香味。里面有好看的饭和菜。我发现一种气味我不认识。我开始吃饭。第四五口饭,一个东西在口里面刺伤了我。我在想“这是什么?这是一片碎玻璃吗?

我把饭吐到纸上。我的嘴巴变麻了。像在看牙医,像在嘴巴里打针。我觉得可能是食物过敏!我站起来找我的女朋友,看到她回到我们的桌旁。我说“快快来我有一个大问题。我不懂为什么我的嘴巴麻木了“。

她说“这就是花椒。它会让你的嘴巴有一点儿麻。“

“麻?菜是麻的?“我说了。嘴巴麻的时候很难说“麻木“这个字。

我的女朋友说,“可能加了太多花椒。不知道应该加多少。我真的没有用过,没有办法用花椒做菜。“

我战胜了花椒。她给我看花椒是什么, 我发现我的盒饭差不多五分之一都是花椒。总之,我学会了,花椒菜真的很麻。花椒干可能刺你的嘴巴。我也学到了四川人可能很大胆。

Chinese medicine

Chinese Medicine in our house

下面我自己用中文来写这个故事:“我们家的中药”

Blog Post #11

3-8-18

I think since marrying my beautiful Chinese Hunan girl I am a more healthy person. I think that is mostly due to Chinese medicine. I have learned a lot about Chinese medicine. By now I am a kind of expert of the major classes of Chinese medicine. In my household we have two types. The first class of Chinese medicine is: drink more water. If you have a headache, drink more water. Cough? Drink more water. Too sleepy? Water again.

If this doesn’t work, you will need stronger medicine. I would recommend taking things to the next level of stronger Chinese medicine – drinking hot water. This one can tackle tougher problems. Bad cold? Drink more hot water. Flu? Definitely drink more hot water.

If you don’t believe me, give it a try!

We have other more advanced medicines as well, like wearing more clothes, but that we will have to cover in a future blog post.

我觉得和一个中国美女结婚了以后我越来越健康了。我觉最重要的原因是中药。我很清楚的了解中药。我现在是有点儿名的中药专家。

在我们家有两种中药。第一种是:多喝水。头痛?多喝一点儿水。咳嗽?多喝一点儿水。太累了么?再多喝一点儿水。

如果这种中药没用,你应该用重一点的药。我建议去采取下一步措施。另一种中药是:多喝一点热水。热水可以解决更多难题。你感冒了么?喝热水。有流感吗?当然要喝热水。你不相信,可以自己试试。

其实我们家也有其他中药(例如:穿多一点衣服). 我未来会写在我的博客上。

Art in Beijing and Self driving cars.

Blog post #10

3-1-18

On my recent business trip to Beijing I had some free time on the weekend and decided to go see the Beijing 798 art district. It was very cool!

There are many small galleries within the district and probably my favorite was the Hyundai gallery. I have an image of the artwork below. It shows a picture of a car surrounded by a circle of salt. I thought what in the world is this?

The artist’s caption says that the picture is about self driving cars and their relationship to the environment. OK. Here is where it gets neat – because the self driving car is not truely smart, it just responds to stimulus in the environment, for example, the car will not cross a white solid line. If someone were to put a white solid line around a self driving car, it would be trapped inside! What a neat idea. So, if someone steals your parking spot in the future, I suppose all you need is a little white paint to get even 🙂

(P.S. I taught my mother in law driving, you can read about it here.)

我最近在北京出差的时候,我周末有一点儿时间。我决定去看一看北京798艺术区。798真得很棒!它有很多小工作室。我最喜欢的工作室是Hyundai美术馆。里面有一张大照片。这张照片有一个大山和一条小路。在这条路上,有一辆车。这辆车在一个白色的圆圈里面。我在想-这是什么?

我读了艺术家的描述。艺术家说:这张照片关于无人驾驶汽车和环境的关系。自动汽车真的不太聪明。它只知道如果遇到了这种情况应该怎么做。例如如果自动汽车遇到了一条白线,它就知道不应该去。因此,如果你在自动汽车周围画圆圈,它会被困住。很有意思的方法!

在未来如果有人偷你的停车位,我想你只需要一点儿白色的油漆就可以扯平了。

(我叫了我的岳母开车,在我的博客上可以了解多一点。)

http://jamesbridle.com/works/autonomous-trap-001