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Monday
Dec122016

The Doll Party

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Anticipating that our three-year-old grandchild would be lonely, with grandpa and grandma off to Japan for 25 days, I promised the little girl, “When grandma gets back, we’ll have a doll party!” Her eyes lit up.

Last Thursday, I made good on my pledge, working from early morning until the afternoon of the party, preparing some yummy little tidbits. I washed all the doll dishes (mismatched—maybe I should buy her new ones for Christmas) and set the coffee table in our family room with the tiny plates, cups and utensils.

I cut out stars and circles from bread for little tea sandwiches—ham and cheese, egg salad, and cream cheese and chutney. I made tiny chocolate cupcakes in mini-muffin tins, frosted them with chocolate frosting and decorated with little candy canes.

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Sunday
Dec042016

Japanese Food: Lessons Learned

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

While I am of Japanese heritage, my grandparents emigrated to Hawaii over a century ago, and like most Japanese immigrants of that period, they were poor farmers. So, emerging from a time warp and bridging a considerable economic distance, I took in Tokyo, Kyoto and towns large and small in a 25-day vacation that ended two weeks ago.

Although this was not my first trip to Japan, it was my longest, and gave me a chance to reflect upon Japanese cuisine with a little more insight. I’m no expert; I’m merely generalizing about my own experiences.

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Monday
Nov282016

Getting Ready for the Holiday Season

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

After Thanksgiving, I begin preparations for the holidays, looking through cookbooks, food magazines and my own recipe files for inspiration. In the days when we threw big holiday parties for nearly a hundred people, Thanksgiving weekend was the kickoff for preparing appetizers and desserts that could be made ahead and frozen.

I start thinking about how to theme my Christmas Eve dinner table and what will be on the menu. I start baking cookies to freeze and planning any food gifts I want to make for friends.

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Monday
Nov212016

Loving the Leftovers: Five Key Tips

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

This Thursday, we’ll be feasting on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings. And on Friday, we’ll have a fridge crammed with leftovers.

If you decorated your table as I did mine, link to last week’ story with a bounty of produce, you’ll have those fruits and vegetables to deal with as well. How to manage it all and avoid waste?

Here are Five tips to get you organized.

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Monday
Nov142016

Setting the Thanksgiving Table

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’m teaching my three-year-old granddaughter to set the table. We have a family dinner every Friday night and she lays out the dinner plates, glasses, napkins and flatware. This feat is accomplished on tip toes, since her head barely clears the tabletop.

Thanksgiving and other special occasions are grandma’s turn to set the table. These days I no longer use my good china, silver and crystal. I feel it’s an imposition on the family because everyone pitches in to clean up, and I know they’re secretly happiest when we use everyday china that can be loaded in the dishwasher after dinner.

That doesn’t mean my table has to be ordinary. For Thanksgiving, I like an edible centerpiece as a celebration of the harvest. An extra benefit is that nothing goes to waste afterwards, since all the table decorations can be consumed later. Various kinds of squash, persimmons and pomegranates, interspersed with votive candles and bunches of grapes, make a beautiful table “runner” on my glass table. If I have time, I bake sugar cookies cut in turkey shapes to use as place cards.

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