Saturday, December 4, 2010

/a/ is for Apple, /k/ is for Cake!

Thursday was Apple Cake Day at the Lutheran Primary School, apples chopped & cake lovingly baked from scratch by yours truly, for primary school kids learning English, and hopefully something about Advent and the Christian understanding of preparing for the birth of Jesus.

Unlike many American kids, these students don't go for super sweet, so I made an easy apple bundt cake recipe I found on the web, substituted whole wheat for some of the flour to make it even healthier, baked it for the THREE hours my oven takes to get anything done... and lugged it over on the metro, then walked through the warren of public housing buildings to get to the school.

I forgot to bring forks so the teacher handed out toothpicks for the kids to eat with (since apparently eating anything with your fingers is verboten in Hong Kong culture). ok.  But toothpicks?  I thought there was maybe some special Chinese technique for eating with toothpicks but the kids struggled with it as much as I did, and I wondered whether some may have thought this is an American way to eat cake, one toothpick crumb at a time. 

I did make a big show of washing my hands before handling the cake to cut it, carefully demonstrating and enunciating, "Now, I am washing my hands", only to be greeted by squeals and hoots as I began drying my hands on the towel placed above the classroom sink.  Turns out that towel is for wiping floors and... whatever else needs wiping in a classroom.  But not hands.

The kind teacher then gave me toilet paper to dry my hands with.  Toilet paper??

There is still lots to be learned about this world of Hong Kong.

 "People look east, the time is near
of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
trim the hearth and set the table.
People look east, and sing today --
Love, the Guest is on the way."  -- Advent hymn (text: Eleanor Farjeon 1881-1965)

These are the towels NOT to be used for drying hands.

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