Chinese Cooking Class on Mendenhall

Confession – I’ve been pretty down on Greensboro this past week. That’s a hard thing to publicly admit considering my professional obligation to pass out the Greensboro kool-aid on the street ritually. And while most of the time I sip the kool-aid with the rest of my colleagues, there are moments that we must have doubt. I have concerns over how high the ceilings are for a young, single professional seeking love and bliss in a mid-sized town in the South. Sadly, there are no easy resolutions for these concerns and no remedy for my grief. However, I had a hard time staying in my rut this morning when looking at the photo above and thinking about this post. They remind me of exactly why I hold so tight to my life here in Greensboro -a collection of tangible and intangible things that I have spent so much time and energy seeking and creating – my home, my friends and the flexibility to engage so deeply in a hobby in which I can share with and through. So perhaps I’ll rest on hope, for now. As Meg Ryan said in my favorite movie (second confession), You’ve Got Mail, “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”

Last week a small group of old and new friends gathered on Mendenhall to cook Chinese with the instruction of my friends Wendy and Jacob. Wendy is a transplant from Hong Kong who found herself in Greensboro after studying at Guilford College and Jacob, grew up in the nearby metropolis of Reidesville, but spent two years in China after college.  Soon after meeting Jacob he recommended that Mod Meals had a post highlighting his favorite Asian cuisine. And quickly after conversing about the idea of a Chinese cooking class, I jumped at the chance to have everyone over.

We spent the evening drinking ginger gin & tonics, making extra trips for forgotten ingredients, competing over the best dumpling form, testing bites of piping hot dumplings with communal utensils and reminiscing over cross cultural perspectives. Wendy gave a incredibly fun lesson on Chinese Dumplings, Jacob recreated his favorite Spicy Sichuan Eggplant and I cheated making a Southern woman’s (Sara Foster) recipe for Hoisin Green Beans. The meal was more authentic than most on Mendenhall and exceptionally fun and delicious. We stuffed our faces around a crowded dining room table until very late in the evening.

I’ll share the recipes from our Chinese Cooking night this week.

Chinese Cooking Class Menu

  • Ginger Gin & Tonics
  • Wendy’s Pan Fried and Boiled Chinese Pork Dumplings
  • Jacob’s Spicy Sichuan Eggplant served with Rice
  • Cecelia’s Most Modern Hoisin Green Beans


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