The Asian Century? I say it’s the Pumpkin Bread Century.
Tomorrow is the big day. At 11:15 in the morning, I set off for China to put the finishing touches on my first book, and to begin exploring a second. Thanks to my generous colleagues and sponsors at the Central University of Nationalities, I will be met at the airport by a student who, according to the email I just received, will be carrying a sign reading “Dr. Thomas.” I’m uncertain how to feel about this, given the mixed company it puts me in: Dr. Phil, Dr. Nick, Dr. Pepper…
A longstanding custom in my SF house is to commemorate departures with dinners. The theme tonight is Thanksgiving in June, a simple yet absolutely brilliant plot hatched by three of my friends and cohabitors. The menu is no joke: we’re talking turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce… To do my part, I decided to come out of retirement, dust off the old oven mitts, get back in the ring, and prepare my Turkey Day specialty: pumpkin bread. Composed of sugar, sugar, oil, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, flour, oil, sugar, and some sugar, this concoction was always my responsibility as a child in Missouri and Maryland. I can only thank my ancestors for having the metabolism to see me through what I now recognize to be, in essence, a cholestorol shotgun pointed at my heart. But still, it’s delicious.
The next time I report in, it will be from my office in Beijing.
Thomas S. Mullaney
Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese History
(For my Stanford site, click here.)