What, you may ask, do pressed pennies and Beijing noodles have to do with each other? If you've been reading my blog this week, you'll know that I am doing a story for Maclean's about people who collect pressed pennies. Well now, I've got another story to juggle. Because the Beijing Olympics begin next week, the Gazette wants to run a story about Beijing-style cooking in next Wednesday's paper -- to coincide with the opening of the games. So, I'm on my way to Chinatown to visit a restaurant called... Beijing!
Also, since I've been researching Asian cooking this morning, I have found a couple (literally) of Asian cooking teachers who live in Montreal. Tomorrow, I'll interview the husband, Levi To -- he and his wife run LTM Cooking School. I was just looking at their website, and it had an inspiring quote. I suppose it was meant to be about cooking, but it applies to writing, too. So here it comes: "To follow, without halt, one aim: there's the secret of success." Interesting, don't you think? So if you want to write -- or do anthing else for that matter, such as learn to cook Beijing-style -- you've got to do it without halt, and focus on your aim. Sounds about right to me!
All this tasty talk about China has whetted my appetite. I've gone past the Beijing restaurant many times, think I once even had supper there. No hot n sour soup, though. And I've just read the 2 remarkable novels by Wayson Choy that deal with his boyhood in Vancouver's Chinatown. Intricate, smoky, stunning books alive with feral women in butterfly-painted silk scarves, immigrant men struggling to earn a living in a harsh new world as cooks, waiters, journalists, laundrymen, lumberjacks, railway workers.
Olympics open tomorrow. Today, on the eve of the opening ceremonies, I set up a hedged option strategy in FXI, the giant US-traded Chinese fund. Expert opinion is divided. Will the monster Chinese economic engine sputter or even crash at this point (FXI will fade.) Or will it motor on past the Olympics (FXI will boom.) The hedge will help, but the dish could go either way. Hot. Or sour.