“A lonely snowman. He cannot find anybody to play with”
Or as it is stated in Dutch there: Het schilderij van (Squirt). Er staat een enzame sneeuwpop. Hij kan nieman vinden om mee te spelen
The caption of his painting had me first in stitches and then scratching my head! Since when is he ever lonely?
Not only I had a hard time identifying the snowman (Silver Bullet’s keen eyes pointed me to the green scribbles on the left), reading how he had captioned it made me went,“Awww…you poor thing!”
While not exactly Picasso material, this was one of Squirt’s art pieces that stood out from the kids’ recent after-school program which the teachers had painstakingly put together for the whole school. (We couldn’t figure out Spud’s because she has forgotten to put her name on any of her crafts that were exhibited.)
While I was wondering if somehow was projecting his loneliness, I also know that it can’t be so bad because be it in school or in the daycare, he always has someone to play with. No question about that.
Squirt is like our little Ambassador; every kid in the neighbourhood seems to know him. We could be anywhere in the neighbourhood – the supermarket, the town fair or the little suburban shopping mall we have here, more often than not, there’ll always be a kid calling out after him the moment they spot him. At times, the next call out being just seconds apart from the previous kid(s).
It’s hard to fathom that he’s a lonely child especially he makes friends so easily. His teacher says he talks a lot. Like all the time. Hence I’m incline to believe that he isn’t all that lonely despite what the caption captured.
That said, I also wondered if he had made that painting during winter a few months back. At that time, we made snowman and we parked the poor bugger right outside our house. We then left him all alone (the snowman, not Squirt) till he went lopsided and melted away.
During that time, there weren’t so many kids outside for him to play with too and if there were, the kids around the neighbourhood are all mostly only girls. He’s usually quite peeved with that and he’ll then find something else to do. Like trying to roll his own sneeuwpop (see above)
My guess is that Squirt’s thoughts must have transported him back to the snowman and the surrounding sentiments while working on his panting. Nah…I’m not worried. A kid can be lonely and they’ll be fine.
Squirt’s a funny kid; he still is one of the happiest and most easy-going chap I know. He certainly ain’t lonely; he’s just our cheeky little sunshine with a knack for giving his parents something to think about every now and then.
Somebody stop me because I’m on a rrrrrollllllll! Remember this?
Since the Giraffe-Print Inspired Swiss Roll for our Monthly Mystery Munchies barely 3 weeks ago, I’ve then gone on to continue with my experiment in trying to perfect my craft with various different flavours and colours. My obsession has resulted with 2 more types of Swiss Rolls (to the delight of my family):
Call me crazy but I have actually enjoyed doing this very much! In times of stress, this is something I do to let off steam as well. It’s a great therapy to have.
If you find the previous Swiss Roll recipe daunting, I assure you that this one is a much simpler version. Despite the tantalising colours though (Spud’s choice), the Lemon-Lime proved to be a disappointment for the entire household for they found the flavour a little too over-powering.
The Raspberry one however got me a huge encore. The resident critics echoed that it was one of the bestest Swiss Rolls they ever had. Knowing that was good enough for me! And I have to admit that this one turned out so very well that I can’t wait to share the recipe with you.
From the kitchen of Grubbs ‘n Critters, let me present you with my very own Raspberry Swiss Roll with Light Chocolate Cream for your eating pleasure:
Raspberry Swiss Roll
Soft and spongy Raspberry-flavoured Swiss-Roll filled with light almost foamy chocolate filling for your eating pleasure!
Line a shallow rectangular tray with wax paper and grease with baking spray. Set aside
Combine egg yolks and the 30g sugar together. Beat well then blend in milk, oil and raspberry extract. Continue mixing till the mixture turns into a pale yellowish colour.
Sift cake flour, corn starch and baking powder together. Add to #1 (egg yolk mixture). Beat well and transfer out if you need to reuse the container for your whites.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar. When ti gets a little foamy, add in the sugar. Whisk well till it forms a stiff peak.
Add in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter. Fold in gently. Then the next 1/3 and fold again. Then fold in the remaining 1/3 and ensure that the batter is smooth and mixed well.
If you intend to make a patterned roll, scoop out about 3-4 tbsp from the folded batter, add colouring of your choice and mix well before you put it into a ziplock or piping bag. Set aside in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This makes sure that it won't be too runny. After that, pipe the design to your heart's desire and pop it in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Top the rest of the batter over it, bang and bake!
Otherwise, add in colouring of your choice and just pour all of the batter into the pan.
Even out the surface and lightly bang the tray on a hard surface a few times to remove trapped bubbles.
Bake for 10 minutes
While the pan is in the oven, whisk cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate syrup for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the cold whipping cream and whisk till the texture just about stiffen and gets a little fluffy. Do not over-beat. Set aside in the fridge for use later.
When the cake is ready, flip the cake over and transfer to another wax paper. Peel off the wax paper from the other side
Generously spread the cream all over the cake. Slowly and gently roll the cake up tight
Seal it on both ends with the wax paper and chill it for half an hour before serving.
Best served chilled! Be warned: Once you are hooked, there is no turning back.
If you are Asian or once-an-expat originating mainly from non-Asian countries who has lived part of your life in Asia before, you’d be very familiar with the cardinal rule of NO shoes allowed IN the house.
That means, walking in to other people’s home with your shoes on is a big NO-NO-NO. It is an spoken rule. It’s just not done. In fact, we learnt the rule as soon as we took our first steps and put on our very first walking shoes.
Should we break it every once in a while, even to retrieve a forgotten key that was less than a meter away, the elders would chase (or threatened to chase) us with a broom. A bunch of scoldings and nags would soon follow. We’d no sooner be anointed with curses.
Yeah. Really. No kidding.
Growing up, the no-shoes-indoor rule was strictly enforced as an expected behaviour at home as well as no matter whose house we visited. Having shoes on whilst in someone’s home would be considered extremely rude and not tolerated.
If however you choose to do it in your own house, then you are just courting trouble. But then again, we were taught well on that aspect of life. We knew the deal from the get-go; it’s always have been a part of my culture and it’s in my DNA.
Till today and many travels later, I still have very strong feelings about walking around at home with shoes on. That’s to say: NO shoes in the house. Period. As I have said, it is.not.done.
But you see, this is not just about culture.
On the practical side of things, this boils down to hygiene and cleanliness. Think about where those shoes have been. Day in, day out.
Add stepping on dog’s poo, human feces or other funky whatever on the street, you then with the same pair of shoes, walk right into your own home (or other people’s home). And if that is not enough, you’d continue to distribute more of the filth everywhere all around the house as you make your way to the fridge in the kitchen…walk back to the couch…and you get my drift.
Years ago when I got to know Silver Bullet, he thought that walking around at home without shoes on is such a weird concept. Coming from the Netherlands where people DO wear shoes in their own homes, he said that it was generally something that he (or other people in his shoes) would not consciously think about.
To him (then), it was absurd: No one takes off their shoes and he couldn’t understand the need for it to be off the feet. At home, it’s customary for them to wear the same footwear they go out with. Plus, asking people to take their off would likely be met with “Are you friggin’ insane!” kind of look.
Meanwhile on the other side of the fence, I was rolling my eyeballs. I cannot understand the concept of wearing shoes at home. Plus I can’t stand the thought of having filthy floors. Even if allowed, I would still take my shoes off without thinking; mostly out of habit, partly because it’s more comfortable to walk around bare feet.
Silver Bullet has certainly been indoctrinated to this cardinal no-shoes rule from his years of living in Asia and visiting many an Asian homes as well as having a wife who is a stickler for (not) wearing shoes at home. It’s now second nature to him and a habit he has come to appreciate.
Besides, what is there not to like about having a clean-er home and…and…and…! The fact that cleaning becomes less of an effort. That in itself is a winning formula!
Back in Asia, enforcing the no-shoes-in-the-house rule to our guests was easy. Everyone does it. You don’t even have to say it. No-brainer really.
Here in the Netherlands, my stress level goes up when I see people walking into our home with their shoes on. As soon as that happens, an electrified surge of annoyance rushes over me. My “floor-is-clean-and-I-have-no-idea-where-your-shoes-have-been!!!” antenna goes up.
That took some getting used to I must say. Especially when it comes to telling our guests that they need to take their shoes off when they walk into our home. It’s true that people tend not to think about it. Most times, people would respect our wishes.
But not everyone would comply when we request them to. The hideous rule-breakers tend to be those who come by to do the odd maintenance work of our home. With their hardy steel-toe work shoes, they trot around the house from the entrance to the back, into the bedrooms and all the way to the attic like they own it.
Their reason: Safety. Heavy objects could fall on their feet. That’s just hazardous.
Urgghhh! I mean, I understand. I geddit, geddit? Safety first. Completely understandable.
As much as I have no choice but to grit my teeth, I am secretly disliking hating their presence. I’ll be cringing away as I hear their heavy footsteps plodding all over our place; dreading the clean up I have to do the moment they leave our home with their disgustingly dirty shoes.
Cringe-worthy moments. Oh THOSE shoes! You’d see me seething. My OCD would kick in. Get.them.off.my.floor.
I can’t help it; I like my floors less dirty. It’s a personal preference for the cleanliness of our humble abode and we take pride in maintaining good hygiene. That way, we don’t have to waste food when they get dropped on the floor even if we found bits of them 24 hours later.
The thing is: I most definitely do not care less if people wish to wear the same shoes they wore outside in theirown home. It is their right and I have no right to judge. I’d still offer to take off my shoes when I come to yours.
That said, you are of course more than welcome to stop by our little hut for a visit. But please just leave your shoes by the door.
The rest of you can come in.
We’ll even take smelly feet and/or chipped, unpolished toenails.