Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Seventh Wonder of America, China, Myanmar

Today it was the Wonders of New York. I overslept a bit this morning so didn't really see the programme, but Matt was telling me about it. Apparently they are building 200 new buildings a day in New York which is quite something. I guess once one is finished another is started immediately. That is quite a lot of building work, you wouldn't think they would have room. They are also building a tunnel hundreds of feet below the city to carry water. It has been under construction for 40 years and should be finished next year. Dianne Sawyer went down to have a look at it, she also went to the top of the Empire State building which is still the definitive building of New York City. As usual you can read the story and see the pictures here; the diversity of the city is covered, with mention of Little Italy and Chinatown although most big cities in North America seem to have developed ethnic segments within the main metropolis. Ground Zero (9/11) is being developed with a permanent memorial to the people who died there as well as hotels and shops with an open concourse for visitors.

Tomorrow people have been asked to vote for their choice for the 8th wonder of America.

Actually I was thinking about various sci fi books I have read in which major cities were housed in huge buildings which reached up into space. After 9/11 I can't imagine that ever happening unless they can figure out a way of shielding the buildings.

The number of dead is steadily rising in China, what a disaster it is and they are still having trouble reaching some of the areas. There are 50,000 soldiers working there but they have been unable to get to some towns and villages yet. One report where they did get to a small town of 10,000 people , 7,000 have been found dead. Almost makes you wonder if survival is worth the price when all you love has been taken from you. As for Myanmar or Burma, there was a report that another hurricane or cyclone is forming which could hit the area. I have lived through a few hurricanes in NC where we ran to more solid buildings to "ride it out" but as I understand it the people in Burma generally live in very flimsy shacks which do not stand up to a hurricane. Our mobile homes are built to better standards than their dwellings. I know the one we had was built to stand a Category 4 storm. The picture is Hurricane Bertha making landfall in North Carolina. That was 11 years ago, seems a lot more recent than that.

We were lucky because although we lost power for a week, our home was still standing with very little damage other than trees falling on our fences. Quite unlike what Burma is going through at the moment. Also shelters were provided in the local schools and churches if you didn't live in a very safe building. At least with a hurricane/cyclone you have some warning it is heading your way, although I wonder if the citizens of Myanmar had any warning - it kind of seems like they didn't. The cyclone, named Nargis, apparently hit the Irawaddy River which is a densely populated part of Burma. The disaster was not as big as the quake in China, but it is being magnified by the behaviour of the ruling junta not allowing relief workers into the country apart from them seizing the food supplies.

On a happier note, here is another asparagus recipe which I am fairly sure came from Food TV but I don't seem to have a record. By piping tube they mean a piece of white plastic piping which many chefs use to build up their creations. You can buy it in any hardware store. I must confess I have never eaten white asparagus which is always very expensive. You could substitute green for this dish if you wanted.

Asparagus Hors d'Oeuvres

1 lb
White asparagus
egg, hardboiled

tomato concassé


olive oil

lemon juice

blanched chives

1 Peel ends of asparagus, tie and boil til tender. Cut off tops, chop up bottoms having removed woody bits. Mix bottoms with tomato concassé, chervil, sieved egg white, olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
2 Sprinkle spears with lemon juice and olive oil, season. In a piping tube stand up spears all round, fill with salad, tie up with blanched chive then gently remove piping. Sprinkle with sieved egg yolk. Decorate with chervil leaves.

Servings: 4

Tomato concassé is very easy to make, peel tomatoes by dipping them in boiling water for a few seconds, the skins will slip off. Then de-seed them and rough chop the rest of the tomato flesh. Chop some shallots and gently sauté the tomatoes and shallots together in some butter. Set aside until ready to use.

Have a great day.


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  2. Hm - too late at night for me to be writing - the first attempt was full of typos:-) Anyhow, I wanted to say how amazing it is that you came through a hurricane! It must've been very scary. I do feel for those poor people in Burma and China. They have suffered terribly from the vagaries of our changing climate.

  3. More than one hurricane Satima, several in fact. I will write about it one of these days.