At Audrey’s piano recital last night, she played Debussy’s Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum perfectly. But a little indifferently, I’m afraid. It reminded me that she didn’t like piano. I have heard the Debussy piece for years in this household — first played by Angela, and then by Audrey, from haltingly with many mistakes to perfectly by the end of months long practice. There were two other pieces played by other students at the recital that almost made me cry. They were Chopin’s Nocturne in B flat Minor Op.117 and Nocturne in E Minor, Op 72 #1. Angela played them beautifully in her recital a few years ago. They brought me back to the heartbreak I felt when Angela quit piano on her 16th birthday.
It’s been nearly six months since that day, and I am still struggling to accept the fact that she is her own person and not some better or unfulfilled version of myself. “In the subconscious fantasies that make conception look so alluring,” wrote Andrew Solomon in Far From The Tree, “it is often ourselves that we would like to see live forever, not someone with a personality of his own. Having anticipated the onward march of our selfish genes, many of us are unprepared for children who present unfamiliar needs.”
When I was six years old, we lost our piano in the Cultural Revolution. I suppose my “selfish gene” wished upon my children my own unlived aspiration. I wonder if Audrey’s decision to continue with piano lessons was because she didn’t want to see me sad. At the recital yesterday, I could clearly tell which students truly loved playing, and which students did it because their parents made them. I am still hoping that Audrey will miraculously fall in love with playing like the students who have “turned the corner” through the years. She did play the Debussy with precision and strength. But I am also preparing myself not be disappointed when one day she announces that she is also quitting piano.
Until then, I am going to make her yummy, healthy food while she practices. Here’s what I made today:
Aloha Spring Rolls with Mango, Tofu, Vegetables and Chunky Macadamia Sauce
1 pack Wildwood Organic Aloha Tofu (5.5 oz)
1 package rice paper
1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated
1 big handful cilantro
1/2 a cucumber, cut into match sticks
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into match sticks
2 small carrots, julienned
Ingredients for Macadamia Nuts Sauce:
1/3 cup macadamia nuts (If you don’t have macadamia, roasted peanuts will taste good, too.)
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Fresh juice from 1/2 lime
To make the chunky macadamia sauce, you put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until the sauce is blended but there should still be crunchy chunks. If you desire a smooth sauce, you can blend it all the way. Double the recipe if you have a large food processor. I doubled mine using my Vitamix.
Arrange all the filling ingredients and prepare a cup of warm water. Lay a piece of spring roll skin on a smooth flat surface such as a clean cut board. Pour a small amount of warm water on the spring roll skin and spread the water with your calm or fingers. Layer a lettuce leafs, cilantro, a slice of tofu, cucumber, mango, carrots and about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the sauce. Fold the top over the filling, then the sides and roll tight to close. Repeat with remaining rolls. These taste the best freshly made, but will keep in the fridge under a damp paper towel for 2 days.
You can also use a large bowl of warm water and dip the spring roll skin in the water before laying it on a flat surface for wrapping.
Adapted from: sproutedkitchen.com