In a pudding-and-tea session, the subject of Asperger’s came up.
Y: “One characteristic of people with Asperger’s is the failure to detect emotional patterns in others and/or react to it. They can also be very literal. For example, a man with Asperger’s may see his girlfriend crying:
Man: ‘I see tears on your face and I’ve been taught this means you are upset, but I don’t know what to do.’
Woman: ‘You could give me a hug?’
Man: ‘Yes, I could.’ (stays rooted to the spot)”
B: “That’s just what most men are like nowadays regardless of whether they have Aspergers or not!”
We all cackled at that, but that also made me think how there are moments where all human beings, regardless of their sex, can be a little insensitive, fail to understand, or think one step ahead and derive from others’ behaviour what they need without them having to say.
And then I’m also thankful for having people in my life who are the complete opposite of Asperger’s patients, men and women alike. Sitting in the Newnham kitchen and seeing L‘s left-behind belongings made me remember the time she bought Vitamin C in the form of oranges and lemons for when we were all sick and ailing. E caught me having an embolism in the kitchen over this featured chicken (I was tired and grumpy and having an I-never-want-to-cook-again fit), simply quietly took the knife I was wielding, then proceeded to debone it and placing the pieces on plates. It’s precisely because of these compassionate, amazing people in my life, and many more, that set an example for me to take that little extra step and make someone’s day too.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Prep time: 1.5 hours*
1 small whole chicken
6 stalks of spring onions (4 chopped and 2 minced)
half a ginger (half sliced and half grated)
14 cloves of garlic (8 sliced and 6 minced)
1 lime (halved)
2 cups of jasmine rice
2 tbsp sesame oil
half a chicken stock cube
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tsp sugar
4 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp honey
1. Wash and drain the rice thoroughly. Heat sesame oil and lightly fry 2 tsps garlic and 2 tsps ginger. Then, fry the raw rice for a couple of minutes, making sure it is coated in oil. Set aside in rice cooker.
2. Heat oil a big pan and lightly fry the slices of ginger and garlic, as well as the chopped spring onions, then add boiling water to about half way. Add 1 tsp salt, the chicken stock cube and juice of half a lime. Immerse chicken in the boiling water, turn to very low heat and let it barely simmer for 25-30mins.
3. After 25-30mins, ladle the chicken soup into the rice cooker until the required level of liquid normally required to cook the rice. Meanwhile, allow the chicken to cool before deboning, and make the three condiments:
a) Ginger-spring-onion dip: mix the minced ginger and spring onion in the cooked oil and season to taste.
b) Sweet and sour vinaigrette: mix fish sauce, 2 tsp (or more) sugar, white vinegar, minced garlic, juice of half a lime and a sprinkle of chilli (optional).
c) Black sauce: mix dark soy sauce, honey and 1tsp sugar
It definitely will make your life easier to prepare and lay out all the ingredients neatly before starting the cooking for this particular recipe – and even so it always always takes longer than I think!