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  Blog Noir. An interplay of cultural references, snark, the occasional smutty joke, Dadaism, Mamaism, and a genuine outrage at the horrors of The Situation.

--to paraphrase Freddy el Desfibradddoro
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Wednesday Mooncake Blogging

Making mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn festival requires not just an understanding of what goes into the mooncake, but also an appreciation of what does not go into the mooncake.


Consider the following filling ingredients: 1 cup red azuki beans, 3/4 cup Smart Balance spread, 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Consider the following dough ingredients: 1 cup flour, 5 tablespoons Smart Balance spread, one egg, beaten.

Consider the following non-ingredients: Lust, ambivalence, squirrels, a battleship, dew.


Soak red beans in water for the afternoon. While they are soaking, consider these words from Lao Tzu:
The Mooncake of Heaven takes from the excessive and supplements the lacking, unlike the Mooncake of Man that takes from the lacking and supplements the excessive.
Now, consider whether you want to cook the beans and add the spread, or distribute the beans to the needy and fast instead. Remember, ambivalence is not an ingredient of mooncakes. If you choose to continue, place the beans and spread in a saucepan and add the sugar and salt, but not lust or a battleship. Cook until almost all the moisture has evaporated.

After you have mixed and prepared the dough, think about what shape you want to make the mooncakes. Remember these words, often attributed to the patriarch Bodhidharma:
Now, my body in life, in old age and in death is, at every point, “me.” Therefore, if it is good for me to believe that living is good, then it is also good for me to believe death is good, and it is also good for me to believe a walrus is good.
Divide the dough into twenty equal portions, and fashion each into walrus shapes. Walruses are not listed among the ingredients, because these are not actual walruses but simply images of walruses. The Chinese word for walrus means “sea elephant,” but elephants are not listed in the ingredients, either. Think about this. Yet, unlike squirrels, they are not listed among the “non-ingredients” either. Think about this, too. Nagarjuna would tell us that the reason for this is to discourage us from binary thinking. Nagarjuna, however, is neither an ingredient nor a non-ingredient. So forget all about Nagarjuna. Fill each “walrus” with the azuki bean filling. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake twenty minutes at 350 degrees.

While it is baking, think about Chairman Mao’s adage:
一聽德布茲之言, 就知養生之術。
Once I heard the words of [American Socialist Eugene] Debs, I understood the techniques for nourishing life.
Resolve to support Eugene Debs in the next election. Remove the mooncakes and let them cool. But let them cool indoors, so that dew does not sneak into the recipe. Distribute the mooncakes to members of the proletariat.

Spiritual aftermath:

Ask yourself if this recipe is about mooncakes, or if it really a recipe about pointing at mooncakes.

Can you remember what it was that you were thinking about before you started thinking about mooncakes? And, just as importantly, does it really matter what you were thinking about before you started thinking about mooncakes? And, if that doesn't matter now, then at some moment in the future, isn't it true that what you are thinking about now will not matter at all?

So, why not take some time to go out and wander among the rivers and streams? That's much simpler, anyway.

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