Tag: Austin

 

Make, give, eat: Why dumplings are the medicine we need during a pandemic – Food and Dining – Austin American-Statesman

Every culture has a dumpling, and I want them all.

Pot stickers and pierogi, pasties and samosas, empanadas and ravioli. These are just a few of the hand pies and filled dumplings that people around the world reach for at family get-togethers, annual celebrations and weekday lunches.

The dumplings I knew as a kid weren’t really dumplings. Those thick, hand-cut noodles dropped into chicken stew dumplings are still a nostalgic comfort food, but those aren’t the dumplings that currently fill my freezer.

I’ve always tried to keep a little stash of Asian, Italian, Argentinean and Eastern European dumplings for quick dinners, but this year, that stash has grown into a stockpile. It must have something to do with the anxieties and uncertainties of the pandemic — plus all this time at home to cook — that have led to a larger-than-usual supply of dumplings that I can cook for a quick lunch or dinner.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been focused on making hundreds of Asian dumplings to give away to neighbors and friends, some of whom have welcomed babies during this year of the coronavirus. Reactions are almost identical each time I hand someone a bag, usually filled with some kind of frozen pork-and-scallion stuffed pot stickers: raised eyebrows, open mouth and some exclamation along the lines of “Oh, I love dumplings!”

During the past six months, I’ve written about making empanadas, pierogi and ravioli, but it wasn’t until this month’s one-person pot sticker parties that I started to wonder why I’ve been so drawn to dumplings this year.

So I reached out to C.K. Chin, the community-building restaurateur behind Wu Chow and Swift’s Attic. His downtown Chinese restaurant is now selling frozen dumplings by the dozens, and I knew Chin would help me sort out what it is about these little pockets of joy that makes them so magical.

Unlike lasagna, brisket or a big pot of soup, which are also definitely comfort foods, dumplings aren’t necessarily meant to feed a crowd — although they certainly can. Dumplings usually start the other way, with a group of people gathered around a table, with everyone putting their labor together to make something that can be divided and shared among them.

Once you’ve made all those dumplings — no matter what kind — you can store them in a freezer to feed your future self. Dumplings embody a certain kind of optimism, Chin says.

“In Asian cultures, dumplings carry deep symbolism. They are treated with a lot of reverence and good luck because they are shaped like gold ingots. Even if you don’t believe the mythos of it, it becomes a tradition in your house,” he says.

With humble origins, dumplings don’t need much to shine. In Asian cultures, the dough is usually made with flour, water and salt, and in the right hands, those ingredients can transform into an almost transparent skin that maintains a slightly chewy texture when boiled or fried. “It takes out-of-the-box thinking to make

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© Selena Watkins / Katie Austin / Instagram
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Austin Public Health Outlines Differences

AUSTIN, TX — Flu season is upon us once more, but emerging this year against the backdrop of the coronavirus. Given the double threat, Austin Public Health officials have outlined the dinstinctions between both illnesses to alert concerned residents.

Referencing material provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health officials noted both are contagious respiratory illness but caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with the new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 while flu is caused by an infection with influenza viruses, health officials said.

Similarities and Differences

Symptoms: Common symptoms of both COVID-19 and flu include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain and/or headache. A COVID-19 symptom, different from flu symptoms, may include a loss of taste or smell.

Onset: For both COVID-19 and flu, one or more days can pass between a person becoming infected and experiencing symptoms. Both viruses can also spread for at least one day before individuals experience any symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms can take longer to appear than flu. For flu, symptoms typically appear one to four days after infection. For COVID-19, symptoms can appear two to fourteen days after infection.

Spread: Both COVID-19 and flu can spread from person to person between people who are in close contact with one another, within about six feet. Both illnesses are spread mainly by respiratory droplets when a person infected with either virus coughs, sneezes or talks.

For coronavirus testing, visit the COVID-19 Information city portal

For flu testing, visit your provider, urgent care, or pharmacy

Risk: Both COVID-19 and flu can cause severe illness and complications. Those at highest risk include older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women. However, the risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19.

Vaccine & Treatment: Flu has an annual vaccine available to prevent the illness. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Visit VaccineFinder.org to find a location near you offering flu shots.

Flu also has an antiviral drug that can reduce the severity and length of illness if prescribed within 48 hours of symptom onset. For additional COVID-19 information, visit the COVID-19 Information portal.

Graphic via Austin Public Health.

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

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