I Love Mianbao the Way a Mouse Loves Rice…

In recent months, I have avoided using “Google” as my search engine because I don’t like how it tracks me and targets me with advertisements and splashes my phone’s newsfeed with vaguely related topics.  So I have been using Duck Duck Go.  It’s good but has its limitations.   For example, I can’t find the website of my children’s school on there.  No idea why.  It’s also very USA-centric which is fine if you’re in the USA, but less useful if you’re not.

Anyway, the point is,  I have recognised and become afraid of how omniscient the internet is.  I want to be more anonymous.

Today, however, the internet set out to prove me wrong.  It wasn’t Google though.  It was this website – wordpress.com.  I talked a lot about cooking in a couple of blogs and voila, it threw up a couple of other cooking blogs for me to look at.  I wouldn’t have even noticed except that one of the pictures looked kind of familiar.

Fifteen years ago, when I was teaching English in China, there was a man just outside the University gate who sold sweet little buns.  My friends and I referred to him as “the mianbao man” because mianbao is Chinese for bread.  We never found out a more specific name for the delicacy he sold.  The French teachers and I were the chief addicts.  We would buy a packet of five or six and demolish them in moments (the packets only cost a few cents).  They were sweet with a slightly crunchy base and delicious soft tops.

When I went back on a holiday with my husband four years later, the mianbao man’s little shop had become a mobile-phone shop.  It was a terrible disappointment.

So imagine my glee on spotting (at the bottom of my own blog) a pretty little picture of buns that looked so familiar and a title “Small Honey Buns” by a blogger called ChineseTuition88!!  The accompanying  story about it being the blogger’s classic quick breakfast throughout high-school seemed to match my own associations.  Needless to say I have attempted to adapt the recipe to our bread-maker and am anxiously awaiting the beeps which tell me it has done its bit.


Getting back to the internet, I must admit to missing Facebook lately too.  Last night, while I put the bread mix in the machine, I listened to a Sydney Morning Herald podcast.  It was (at least in part) celebrating the beautiful kindnesses that have been performed in our society because of COVID19.   About 90% of the stories involved social media pages of some sort.

At this time, I do not feel connected to my community.  I do not hang about at the shops. I am not up at the school chatting to parents.  So far I have not succeeded in organising online soirees with friends.  My pond has shrunk to a puddle and I have to be honest and say that it’s mostly my fault.

Of course social media would make it easier.  But I’m sure it’s not essential.  I just have to be more determined, more enthused, more pro-active.

Just like I have been with this honey bun recipe!

Wo ai ni, ai zhi ni, jiu xiang lao shu ai da mi!!   (Check out the song)

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