doctor, doctor give me the news…

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one of the reasons we went to l.a.’s chinatown over the past weekend was so the g/f could score a chinese scale.  the other reason being so she could find some herbs for a special concoction she had read about.  then there was my reason for going, staring at hot asian babes.  kid in a candy store time.  yes, well, some of you have already read what happened in that regard.  drifting. 

i’ve been around the asian culture for a number of years.  the chinese scale is one of the things that hasn’t come up before.  i’d seen them being used but just figured it was like any other scale.  it is and it isn’t.  it doesn’t weigh grams or ounces.  no, sir.  it weighs chinese weights.  sorta different from your usual american and eurolander weights and measures.  yes, we probably could have found said scale around here but it would have meant driving around where as in chinatown once we were there it was just a matter of walking around.  plus driving around you can’t really look around.  if you get my drift.

the chinese scale is not a cheap piece of equipment.  one was found for $50 but g/f wasn’t happy about that price.  we found one later for $35.  a better deal in any man’s language and chinese in particular.  at any rate the scale is a one hand held device with a nice brass plate and brass weight which are hung from some sort of bone, hopefully not ivory anymore but one never knows.  the bone has graduated weight lines carved into it.  there are 3 tassel like things on one end to be used for increasingly heavier weights.  for lighter weigths you hold on to the first tassel etc.  astute chinese make sure to watch anyone using said scale that they aren’t cheating with their pinkie finger by adding or subtracting weight. 

as for the herbs they were no problem.  chinese herbs are everywhere.  nice thing about the herbs for this concoction is they are over the counter stuff.  no chinese herb doctor needed.  simply dried dates, we got the pitted ones.  and not the dried dates of western culture.  chinese dried dates are very hard little things that are really and truly moisture less.  another of the ingredients a these small red dried berries found only in northern china around the himalayas.  as for the main ingredient it’s astragalus.  a root of some sort that supposedly has some fine properties going for it.  it actually looks like a tongue depressor that hasn’t been finished.  a sort of rough hewn version of the one your doctor has in his/hers office.

ok, so you take the herbs add water and bring it to a boil then let it simmer for a good hour.  it takes that long to get the dates and berries soft.  and that long for the astragalus to give up it’s good stuff.  apparently it’s very good for the immune system and other maladies.  g/f found the recipe on the net by a chinese doctor who practices western medicine.  uh, it’s in chinese.  sorry.

once it’s cooked up and most of the water is gone you toss out the tongue depressor stuff as it’s inedible even after cooking that long.  you drink the liquid and eat the dates and berries.  it’s not sweet but it’s not bitter either.  it’s like in between and not unpleasant.  some cantonese restaurants make a similar version of this with beef and beef bones.  a soup.  a very tasty soup.      

when the stuff is being cooked up it reminds me of perhaps a banana nut bread being baked in the oven.  pretty nice actually.  at least it smells better than the herb stuff the chinese lady next door is always cooking up.  she cooks it up out on the patio as it smells.  an almost unpleasant odor to be sure.  bordering on a vegetable soup gone horribly wrong. 

so does the stuff work?  i guess.  my allergies are in abeyance as are the g/f’s.  still around but no sneezing fits that go on and on.  this is after just drinking a cup a day since saturday.  interesting.  the stuff is also supposed to be good for the kidneys and liver among other things. 

ok.  so it’s not like i want to live forever.  not by any means.  it’s quality not quantity.  this stuff doesn’t seem to have any side effects.  i mean the chinese have been drinking and eating similar stuff for thousnds of years and there’s more of them than anyone else on the planet.  something to be said for all of that i suppose.

below is a photo of the chinese scale at work. 

jmh

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