Easter dough fun!

Busy hands at my mom’s “dough fun” booth for the kids! It was part of her Chris­tian com­mu­ni­ty out­reach group’s East­er pro­gram at a Chi­ne­se mall, along with oth­er game booths, the telling of the East­er sto­ry, free blood pres­sure mea­sur­ing (a big hit with the seniors), dance and choir per­for­mances, and Chi­ne­se opera singing.

The night before we made 8 batch­es of dough in total, each the size of a small can­taloupe. My mom cooked some batch­es using this recipe, while Mike and I made some using the uncooked recipe.

And from this fren­zy of dough-mak­ing I learned that:

1. Nev­er wrap cooked dough in plas­tic wrap! Just put them in an air tight con­tain­er, and only do that after it’s cooled. Of course, I found that out the hard way. 4 batch­es of cooked dough turned into paste the next day. Utter­ly form­less, sticky, mushy paste. It took 2 full bags of rice flour (because the Chi­ne­se gro­cery store near the mall didn’t sell all pur­pose flour) and 2 hours of knead­ing one fist­ful of dough at a time to undo the dam­age.

2. Always add less water than called for ini­tial­ly. Espe­cial­ly with recipes that also call for oil and food colour­ing. I found that any extra liq­uid would make the dough too wet and sticky. One could always add more water if the dough seems dry and flaky.

Though not with­out stress, the day was fun! I made some sam­ples before the kids arrived. Like this cater­pil­lar here, with red bean eyes. (As a last-min­ute solu­tion for “what if the kids make ani­mals and they want to add some eyes?” my mom brought in some red beans from her pantry.)

With those huge eyes it kind of reminds me of the giant cater­pil­lar in Miyazaki’s Val­ley of the Wind.

The vol­un­teers and the moth­ers of the kids who stopped by also made some real­ly nice ros­es!

Dough flow­er is actu­al­ly a kind of tra­di­tion­al Chi­ne­se hand­i­craft, using wheat flour or rice flour and sug­ar, and are served as desserts. And then there’s a mod­ern craft tech­nique for mak­ing flow­ers and minia­tures using a spe­cial kind of syn­thet­ic clay. It’s called clay flow­er in Eng­lish but its direct trans­la­tion from Chi­ne­se is “flour flow­er” (pun­ny!), which makes me think that the syn­thet­ic clay craft is a direct dece­dent of the tra­di­tion­al dough flow­er craft. It appears to be quite pop­u­lar in Chi­ne­se com­mu­ni­ty, with lots of class­es being offered at community/cultural cen­tres, and the vol­un­teers and moth­ers were chat­ting about the “flour flow­er” tech­nique while mak­ing ros­es at the booth.

And so lots of kids want­ed to make flow­ers. One of the girls was mak­ing a bou­quet with dif­fer­ent flow­ers, and request­ed calla lilies, so I tried to make some. Just a tooth­pick wrapped in a bit of yel­low dough at the top, and then wrapped in a thin, cir­cu­lar piece of dough. Of course, our salt dough flow­ers seemed pret­ty crude com­pared to the tra­di­tion­al dough flow­ers and the mod­ern “flour flow­er”, but it was fun nonethe­less :D

I also made a bird. Only as a sam­ple in the begin­ning, but I liked it a lot, so I fin­ished it with a coat of var­nish and hot-glued a pin on the back.

I love its tooth­pick legs! :D It’s found a home in the type case when it’s not pinned to my shirt.

Have a fan­tas­tic start to the week, every­one!


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