Food in China

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

This week, mom and I looked for recipes from China, because my grandmother came from China, and I wanted to know more about the foods from there. China has different foods in different areas. The northern, the southern, the eastern, and western parts of China all have different foods because they have different climates, tastes, and cultures.  Some areas have a lot of water, which you need to grow rice. Other areas have dry grasslands, which are good for raising cattle and growing wheat. Some areas have rivers, or are next to the ocean, so they can have a lot of fish and sea food like jellyfish, shrimp, and octopus. We found this map of China, showing different food regions.

The two dishes we made at home were fried mixtures of different meats and vegetables. One had ground chicken meat, chopped spinach, chopped scallions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. The other one had ground pork meat, whole shrimps, chopped mushrooms, chopped scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. We didn’t really measure anything; we just kept adding stuff until we like the taste. We served both dishes over white rice. I liked the one with pork and shrimp and mushrooms, best.

My favorite Chinese dish that I like to eat, when we go out with my grandparents and uncle for dim-sum is: rice noodles with jellyfish, in some kind of bean sauce. I don’t really know what is in the sauce, but it is on the border between being sweet and spicy-hot, and I liked it from the very first time I tasted it. But I don’t like to eat jellyfish when they’re alive; they might sting my mouth!


Yellow-Faced Bumble Bees

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

About the middle of January, I started seeing these bumble bees visiting the blueberry bushes in our front yard and the manzanita bushes in the back yard, getting pollen from the flowers. They make A LOT of noise when there are a lot of them buzzing around your head, so we wondered what kind of bees they were. I looked in the Kaufman “Field Guide to Insects of North America,” and found out that they are called yellow-faced bumble bees. These bumble bees live in the area between southern Canada and Baja California, along the west coast of the United States. They look like this:

I’m not very fond of bees, and so I wanted to know where their nest was, so I wouldn’t get stung. Mama found this video about bumble bees, that I found very interesting and very very amazing. The amazing thing I want to tell about was that a bee drove a mouse out of its home, so that the bee could own it instead! Since these bees nest underground, I think we should put a big rock near the entrance so that we remember not to go too close.



Dollar Street – A Culture Study Resource

I just stumbled upon a wonderful new resource for the study of world cultures, which is every bit as vivid and informative as are the “Families of the World” documentaries we love so well.  In this case, the resource is a web-site, which enables you to search sets of photographs of family life in different countries, for a range of different socio-economic levels within each of those countries, to get a feel “on your skin” of what life might be like to live in each of those places.  The web site can be found here:

Dollar Street

The TED talk, in which its creator, Anna Rosling Rönnlund discusses the project’s creation and its potential uses, can be viewed here:


Visiting the Giants

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

Last month, I went to visit the giant redwood trees in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA. The trees there reminded me of the Carboniferous Period that I read about in “The Encyclopedia of World History,” because the trees were ten times taller than I thought they would be.  Joan Maloof wrote that this forest could have been about 50 million years old, so, I expected the trees to be about as tall as my kitchen, broken off by lightning strikes and storms, but they were mostly standing, and much much much much much much bigger than I thought!!!

The first fallen tree we found was about twice as wide as I thought it would be. It reminded me of “Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table,” where Radius was as tall as half-way across the fallen tree, and Lady Di of Ameter had a reach equal to the distance across the middle of the tree.  Below, are two pictures of me and my Mama, pretending to be in a Sir Cumference book.

But the biggest fallen tree we found felt like it was a thousand miles long.  We walked for about a half an hour, to get from the roots all the way to the top — which we couldn’t even find. Here are some pictures of what I think must have been the tallest tree on Earth, before it fell.

This is a picture of the tallest tree we saw, still standing.  It is called the Founder’s Tree.

I want people to see this, so that they know about it, because it is the best tree I have ever seen!

Places You Can Go with Arabic

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

I was looking through “The Travel Book,” and I wondered how many countries I could visit, if I only knew how to speak Arabic.  I counted 23 different countries! Most of them were in the Middle East, or the northern part of Africa. Things that I would really like to go do and see, if I could only go to places where people speak Arabic, are:

  • Explore the rock carvings and cave paintings of Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria;
  • Visit the ancient step-pyramid at Saqqara, in Egypt;
  • Swim in the Dead Sea, so I can stay afloat! (in Israel);
  • Have fish for dinner in the hull of an ancient dhow, in Kuwait;
  • Eat homemade bread cooked under the sand of the Sahara!!! in Libya;
  • Camp out under the stars of the Empty Quarter, in Oman;
  • Snorkel in the Red Sea, in Saudi Arabia;
  • Wade through the ancient sands around the pyramids of Begrawiya, in Sudan;
  • Watch camel races in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates; and
  • See the dragon blood trees of Socotra Island, in Yemen.

The countries that have Arabic as an official language are:

In the Middle East (which is part of Asia):  Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

In the Indian Ocean: Comoros & Mayotte

In Africa: Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia.