Action 2: TERROIR – an offering

Fried Sauce Noodles & Zimtschnecke

My offering for Chiara: Fried Sauce Noodles

I was born and raised in northern plain part of China, here people would like to eat pasta as their staple food: noodles, buns, pancakes…… However, the gene of southern China from my grandfather in my blood led me to my deep love of rice, the main diet of people in south part of China, when I was a child. But for fried sause noodles, I think that could be an exception. It might be my first favorite food from the earlies time of my life as long as I can remember.

Fried sauce noodles (“Jajiangmyun” in English-Chinese, Zhajiangmian in Chinese, and is wirtten like “炸酱面”) is a very commen home-cooked meal in families at nothern China, because it is more convenient to make than most of Chinese dishes. It could be an upgraded version of instant noodle, but it also could be a heavy weight dish on Chinese people’s table. The three parts of Fried sauce noodles are fried sauce, toppings (basically people would like to use cucumber shred, bean sprout, soybeans, carrot shred, but you can decide on your own favorite), and noddles. And the spirit of this meal is the fried soybean sauce with grounded pork in it. Stir up the sauce with noodles and toppings, one bite, you will have all the meat, vegetables, noodles, mixed with the taste of the sauce.

Even if I like fried sauce noodles, I still cannot say I’m a person who are fond of noodles during my teenage period. Until my first time went aboard to the United States for studying. Being very far from home did not trouble me very much on food. Since I always cooked some tasty home meals for me and my friends.

But I gradually realized that I began to love noodles, with no specific reason, just magically started to like it. Afterwards I anaylzed that maybe it was the reason the wheat paste gave me the feeling of fullness and satisfaction that comforted my stomach that was missing home.

After I went back to China, once I had a trip with my friend to a small city in south part of China. Hours of trains and buses journey with an empty stomach made me vey exhausted. At the time I arrived at that city, a thought came up to my mind: I desperately wanted to have a bowl of noodles. Only the noodles can give me power and happiness to counteract the exhaustion and hunger during the travel. However, I could not find any noodles there since people at that small south city did not have the habit of eating noodles.

I lost my bowl of noodles. But I finally found my soul of northern China.

Chiara’s offering for me: Zimtschnecke

In Chiara’s offering, I was so grateful that she provided me her favorite cinnamon bun Zimtschnecke from her family recipe. 

I really adored Chiara’s words. They were so visualized, and I could just feel the smell of autumn and cinnamon roll among the words and between the lines. And that also reminded me of my favorite movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, which made me eagerly to start this food experience. Here I would like to cite one paragraph from her offering and you will find you are immersive in red maple leaves of autumn:

Why don‘t you tune in to some rain sound on YouTube and imagine that it is a cold autumn day in October, you had just cycled home from school, got soaking wet, and overall school was annoying again. But the very moment you open the door, the smell of sugar, butter, and cinnamon streams into your nose.


Yes, the fall is coming.

Zimtschnecke making process

This was a really enjoyable editable experience. And there was another thing that made the offering last a long period. After finished this action, Iris and I even exchanged our excitement by mailing to each other the food we made (very pleased we live so close). I was happy to see she enjoyed the Zimtschnecke from Chiara’s recipe, and I was also very glad to taste the South America sweet from Pablo’s recipe. That strengthened my belief that food is one of the best things that make people know and get close to each other rapidly. 

Fried sauce noodles is a meal that comfort the stomaches of northern Chinese people. There are a thousand bowls of noodles in a thousand families. But no matter how it tastes, it represents the taste of home. From Chiara’s offering, her family has the tradition to have “Kaffe and Kuchen” (Coffee and Cake) together, eating and chatting. There is subtle connection about family reunion between the two dishes. But different families have different ways to get intimacy, I believe this involved with distinguished history and culture of different countries and civilization and is very worthy to deeply research it. 

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