As far as I was concerned, every Monday night in college was officially dubbed Dumpling Night.
Monday was production day for The Temple News. As editor, I would generally get into the office around 1 p.m., and I wouldn’t leave until the digital copy of the newspaper was sent to the publisher. That time often ranged between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
As a reward for our hard work, we called China House, one of Temple’s fine take-out establishments. The conversation went like this:
Me: “Hi. I’d like to place two order of steamed pork dumplings for pickup, please.”
Them: “OK. Ten minutes.”
Simple. Straight-forward. Delicious. This began my dumpling obsession.
I tell you this story because of my best friend, my most favorite person in the world, LeAnne Matlach. She was the reason for the second order of the steamed pork dumplings. And now, she is sharing the stories of food and recipes in a new blog called Big Taste Tiny Space that you need to read.
First, a little about LeAnne. She was the news editor at The Temple News. We first met when she stole a story under my feet. From that point, we took many courses together and basically couldn’t live without each other. We often teamed up at TTN to cover stories, particularly creating video packages. We stalked then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as they focused on Philadelphia to win the 2008 Pennsylvania primary. The Secret Service knew us by name.
But now, more about the dumplings.
We learned many things about our dumpling adventures. First, be careful of spewage. If you bite into the dumpling when it’s hot, you risk having the greasy goodness inside spraying into your mouth, or worse, all over your clothes. Second, don’t eat them cold. The greasy goodness inside the pork dumpling congeals and does not provide for a pleasant mouthfeel. Third, dumplings are not the same without the sauce. I have never been able to replicate the dipping sauce, but the rare night where the kind folks overlooked including the sauce in the take-out container was a dreaded end to a stressful day.
LeAnne and I each ventured into professional journalism careers, but food has always been what brings us back to the table. As often as we can, we celebrate big life moments by having a fancy dinner (I still owe her one or two). We gossip about the latest Food Network stars (we love Ree). We harshly judge people who don’t have an appreciation for food.
So now, LeAnne has taken steps to create her own food blog and has prohibited me from trying to step on her heels. But it’s not your typical food blog. Here is how she described it to me, in words that I edited for various reasons that may or may not include profanity:
If you are of a certain age, or even not, you are probably obsessed with Throwback Thursday, Facebook memories, stalking people you barely know on social media, and taking pictures of food. I am attempting to harness that memory/knowledge-obsessed culture with Big Taste Tiny Space. The theme of BTTS is recipes based around memories, more like, “Oh man, I had an amazing/weird/terrible experience and this was the food that I ate.” I’m hoping that people on the internet are as creepy as me and like to know things about other people.
I consider myself liking to know things about other people, so I think this can be a hit.
So please check out her blog. And perhaps share your own food memories and recipes as part of the ongoing cultural obsession with food.
And LeAnne and I will gossip about what you share in private.