A much welcomed surprise in my kitchen recently had me think about this trip to the area in China that's known for this type of food for centuries. Granted, I'm a trained microbiologist (that happened in one of my past lives), the whole thing about tofu being covered by cotton-like fluff that originated from the air is just mythical. Even after tasting the food there, and even having watched the documentary by CCTV1 (China's national TV station), it's beyond my wildest imagination to create something like these cotton balls in my own kitchen.
In my mind, this food belongs to a place and people where it carries hundreds of years of history, where tofu (and many other types of food) is still sold on carrying poles, clothes dried in the open air and laundry done in the pond in front of their houses that were constructed and carved back in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and don't forget the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. OK, this last part was a joke with you all. But the movie was filmed there.
Then, on my journey to seek traditional food preparation methods, the cotton balls made their presence in the most unexpected way in my house, on a fine spring day. It seems they've been around all this time, including the years after the trip while I constantly reminisce about the incredible food, only waiting for the prime opportunity to debut. So, is it the mental readiness that it's waiting for or that I started drying clothes in the open air? Enlighten me, please.