Most of my family is of German heritage. Not a joyful bunch, really. Practical, hard-working, dependable people who went to church, didn't dance during Lent, liked a beer on occasion, laughed at jokes, but didn't have much time for seemingly useless things like music (other than polka), theater, literature, or developing skills that did not produce money or food. So, as a young child, my interaction with my grandparents could be described as pleasant but not joyful, ok but not too interesting.
With one exception: my maternal grandfather (the lone Norwegian in the town) used to entertain us royally with his tricks - useless things he did just to entertain us - just with his body and his imagination. The best trick was that he could make his nose "squeak" and we would squeal in amazement. (I know now that he created the squeak by using his thumbnails to scratch his teeth while he seemed to wiggle his nose by cupping his hands over it and moving it back and forth.) Simple but so much fun. Now that I am old enough to have grandchildren of my own (but don't) I am thinking it would be fun to have at least one trick or skill that I could do. Something pretty useless except to maybe make kids squeal and want to try to do it themselves. There are two tricks or skills in my "bucket list" - things I'd like to learn to do before I kick off.
One is easy (well, obviously not so because I haven't learned to do it yet) - I'd like to learn to whistle very loudly, like people do when applauding a talented person (or when calling some goats, maybe).
The second is more challenging. I'd like to learn to make noodles the way Noodle Masters do. A noodle master can produce long, beautiful, noodles that are exactly the same every time. The Master grabs a hunk of dough - probably flour and water only. In a series of moves that take a total of about 2 minutes or so, he stretches the gluten in the dough to make long strands - pulling, stretching, swinging and twisting until he thinks that the dough is ready. The dough gets so long sometimes that it looks like he is getting ready to jump rope. He adds a bit of water, sometimes a dab of flour - he knows exactly what texture the dough needs to be. When the dough is ready, he flours it a bit more to get the gluten strands ready to separate. and in a flash - stretch, twist, stretch, fold - the noodles appear. he cuts them and pops them into the broth for the next lucky diner to slurp up!
Check out these Chinese Noodle Masters on YouTube:
I'm sure this second trick would take years to learn - but I'm retired, right?
What trick or skill is on your bucket list?
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