Saturday, February 02, 2008

Foochow Saying : A greedy woman makes a double dough

My maternal grandmother taught us many moral values through well known Foochow sayings.

And she would always tell us this story during the Winter Festival when we made the Sii Yang or tang yuan.

Our Foochow "sii yang" or glutinous rice balls are thumb sized and coated with delicious soya bean powder and crushed peanuts with a lot of sugar. We would eat them all skewered in a chopstick. In fact, we would have a sii yang eating competition immediately when they were ready for eating.

The saying goes like this: A greedy woman makes a double dough so that she could have more.

Whenever we make our rice balls, we would have the rice soaked and then milled to the exact amount and we seldom would have too much or too little of the rice balls.
In the olden days, the rice would be measured in gantangs (tuirn) made from aluminium, which was equivalent to 2.2 kg. In this kind of mathematical calculation, my older relatives would never be wrong in their recipes. And because they had the correct measurement, it was easy for them to do the exact portion for each festival. They would not make too much and would not waste. Just enough.

Therefore a greedy woman would try to make just a little bit more, and then a little bit more, thinking that what she had was not enough.

This kind of addition of rice and water would end up so much more that she had a double portion of dough.

Therefore, accuracy in the kitchen, was a highly respected value in the olden and frugal Foochow days.

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