Sunday, November 20, 2011

A week w/Hot Pot, Chinese genealogy...

It was a slow week, but we were happy to see the faithful who braved the rain and cold to come to visit the temple. Cold means it was in the low 70's.  The weather has been beautiful even when it rains. 

On Friday, 11/18, we were invited to join the Young Men/Young Women group from our branch and had a delicious hot pot or 火鍋 dinner.  We've had that before as it is a Taiwan tradition to have hot pot dinners when the weather turns cold.  According to Wikipedia:

Hot pot (Chinese: ; pinyin: huǒ guō), less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. In many areas, hot pot meals are often eaten in the winter.

It was a fun way to know the young people better.  Hong Kong students are under such tremendous pressure that we seem to read of students as young as 9 years old jumping off a  balcony to commit suicide.  Our friends' 7-year-old daughter goes to school from 7 AM to night time.  Some nights she has to go back for extra tutoring sessions to brush up on her English and Chinese reading skills.  The young people we had dinner with seemed to be doing fine since they came to the dinner on a Friday night.

Sunday:  We met a 3rd generation Chinese American with lots of genealogy.  He is retired and is traveling with his wife to find his roots.  I was asked to help him translate some of the documents that he has collected through the years.  It was interesting to see some of the customs that we knew or heard of, come through in his genealogy documents.  Some tidbits are:
  • Women were not usually recorded in the Chinese genealogy.
  • In some instances where women's records were recorded, their names were "first daughter", "second daughter", etc.  
  • For men, if there was an official name given 號, such as for government officials, then the chance of recorded genealogy could be traced back a long way.  We saw one being 2300 BC.  
  • If it was a polygamous family, the second wife gave the first or second son to the first wife (who may or may not have had a son).  The son, then, was given proper status as the son of the first wife, instead of the son of a concubine.  
  • In some occasions, if the wife's family did not have a son to carry on the family name, her son might bear her maiden name, provided it was agreed to by the husband.

It inspired me to work harder to find more of my ancestors.  Going to Tainan during the temple closing in June was to visit the relatives to gather more information.  One great tip we found was that the Sung family came from Zhangzhou, Fujian, contrary to what my dad told us about coming with Koshinga; Koshinga was the man who lead a group to Taiwan about 300 years ago as he fought against the Qing Dynasty's rule and also drove the Dutch out of Taiwan.   

Want to try a new recipe?  Sounds yummy! 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake

Crunchy toasted hazelnuts top this velvety cheesecake. For more of that heavenly hazelnut flavor, substitute 1 tablespoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) for the vanilla.


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 1 cup creamed (4%) cottage cheese
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it  1 hour, 5 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 7 minutes or until the skins begins to crinkle. (Leave the oven on.) Transfer the hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and rub to remove as much of the skin as possible (some skin will remain). When the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the crumbs, oil, and 1 tablespoon of water. Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust is set. Cool on a rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
3. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and 1/4 cup of water until well moistened. In a food processor, combine the tofu, cottage cheese, melted semisweet chocolate, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, whole egg, egg whites, vanilla and the cocoa mixture, and process until very smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F, sprinkle the nuts on top and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.


Nutritional Information(per serving)

  • Calories: 207
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 189mg
  • Protein: 8g
  • prep 15 min    cook 50 min
  • serves 12

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