Thursday, October 26, 2006
I was in the mood, Sunday, for some Udon noodle soup, so stopped into Am-Ko to pick up a few essentials. I rounded the corner to the produce to find the scene above: 6-8 women giggling and carrying on, and hovering over baskets of somethings.
What is it? That's where they usually set the live crabs. Remember years ago when my kid grabbed the tongs and pinched my leg, setting me flailing about that very aisle?
But it's not crab season, and I just couldn't help myself: I nudged right up between them, to get a peek. Just as I was determining that there was something in a hard shell, one of the women turned and smiled. "I'll bet you're wondering what we're doing, aren't you?"
Honestly, yes. I am.
"It's chestnuts" she told me. "We love them." And she proceeded to share with me 2 or 3 different techniques for cooking chestnuts, telling me to be sure to split them first, "or they'll blow up."
I didn't end up buying any chestnuts, but I did stand back and watch these women, scooping up enormous bags of them. It was nice, observing another "Girls' Night out" in a different setting. One that was a bit culturally different from my own, but still the same. Clearly strong friendships. Lots of laughing. A bit of shopping. Promises of cooking. Maybe a little gossiping. And saying "hey, hi" to a suddenly-shy girl watching from the sidelines.
It's nice to accidentally end up in a place in which you feel blessed to have been there for a particular moment.
I left smiling, and wishing that I'd had the nerve to go ahead and try to cook a chestnut. I don't get it: how do you split a chestnut? And I'm just not sure what to do with one, once I get it cooked up. How do you even know when it's done? It's in a shell!
But I'm not one to pass up an adventure, especially one handed to me on a silver platter. So, by God, I'll go back this weekend and pick out my own bag of chestnuts, if there are any left.
And, if I blow up my kitchen? Well. At least I tried.