May 24, 2023
How I Use GPT4 and Bard
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September and the Move
With my move to a house, logistics had to be looked after - getting my kitchen furnished, learning new cooking methods, etc. It's busy and exciting.
The Chinese Wok
The Chinese Wok
(September , 2023) The Chinese wok has always fascinated me especially after traveling Southeast Asia where street food is openly cooked in a wok with dazzling expertise by chefs/cooks whose wok is practically an extension of their bodies.
Now that I've stopped traveling and moved to a house with a kitchen, I decided to settle down and commit to being a householder. This means furbishing my rented house with kitchen things - stove, water dispenser, etc. Now, I could realize my fascination with a Chinese wok.
Which wok to buy? The local market only sells aluminum (Alzheimer's anyone?) and Teflon (cancer anyone?) - no self-respecting chef would use aluminum or Teflon. I went to Youtube for guidance. Apparently, there are a few choices of materials for a wok - stainless steel (great for soups but not for stir frying), cast iron (retains heat and heavy to work with) and lastly, the quintessential Chinese wok made with carbon steel (as popularly used in street food and fast-paced Chinese restaurants). Nearly all chefs default to carbon steel.
I'm in an isolated island. Either I cross the sea to Dumaguete to buy or shop online. I chose Shopee and bought from one shop for a wok, spatula, ladle, bamboo brush and wok cover. The strainer, I bought at a nearby store. The shipping was half the cost of the merchandise and it took almost a week. The cover was flimsy and the wooden handles of the wok-spatula-ladle had no pre-drilled holes and no screw came with it. Otherwise, it was all good.
Wok Seasoning and Maintenance
I learned what needed to be done before using the wok for the first time - proper seasoning to make it non-stick and prevent rusting. Done! There is also a ritual after cooking. Rinse the cook in hot water while scrubbing it with a bamboo brush and then drying - no soap is used. When dry, put it back on the wok on med-heat to dry out all the water (no source for rust to develop) and apply a very thin oil coating (as an insulation from oxidation). Before using the wok again, it needs to be put on high heat until smoke (from the thin coating of oil) is burned off, then put priming oil to coat the wok. Chefs discard this priming oil, but I keep it for future priming (no one ever explained why priming oil is discarded while used oil can be reused). New oil is then added for cooking.
It is a lot of work just to do the ritual.
Given my limited experience with the wok, in hindsight, instead of buying a 2-burner stove, I should have just purchased a cast-iron single wok burner. This would have saved space, more robust and can generate higher BTUs for proper stir-frying.
Wok-cooking is a whole universe all its own with authoritative chefs dispensing their gospels in Youtube. This blog is a start of more wok adventures.
Drunk Welder and my Bike Basket
Bike Basket Bar
(September 7-12, 2023) My bicycle basket has been indispensable for hauling stuff which otherwise would weigh me down - water from the spring source, wet laundry, etc. But the steel passenger seat was too small to support the big basket. The solution was to fabricate a metal bar on the passenger seat to support the entire area of the basket.
I took the bike to a welding shop where the master-welder cut 3 pieces of metal bars which I would then zip-tie to the bike and basket. He cut the steel bar, drilled 6 holes and even ground the edges for a smoother finish - all for P120 (US$2.00).
Problem was, the bars were sticking out to the sides and can wound any thigh. I brought it back for re-cutting. Problem was, the welder was already drunk. I came back the next day and he was still drinking. The same thing on the 3rd day. I was wondering how he could make a livelihood if goes drunk for extended consecutive days. My local friend who was a hard drinker, told me that those welders were harder drinkers. Whoa! Finally, on the 5th day, I passed by and the steel bars were re-cut. I gave him P40 extra for his trouble.
Optimized for Payload
Finally, I was able to zip-tie everything together and my bike basket turned 'heavey duty'. For starters, I loaded it with heavy laundry and it held up. Nice!
This is not my first episode dealing with drunkeness. On the same day, I was supposed to meet a friend to go to Siquijor. I waited for him as agreed at 8am. By 8:30, he still wasn't around and I left for home, making other plans. Turned out, he got drunk the night before. This drunkeness and inability to deliver plagues Siquijor. It's frustrating but it doesn't even feel right to complain. If I can't stomach it, I can just leave Siquijor. This is their town, it's their tradition and this is how things are done. Period.
September has been characterized by learning new things and somehow, veering away from the readings/writings of yoga. I've committed myself to being a householder (settling down and no more travels) and getting busy in my new kitchen (I lived for 7 months in a small room) and learning new things - how to cook in a wok, wok recipes and doing new and exciting things in a wok. I learned from the huge selections of Youtube videos, as presented by lay culinary enthusiasts to renowned chefs. It's amazing how the world's knowledge is now at your fingertips. There is no excuse not to learn anything that interests you.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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