It turned out that he was about to make jiaozi. A rickety table was pulled out under the blue sky. A chopping board that looked like a section of a plank was quickly rinsed and laid out. A small tupperware without its cover held water... then appeared a pair of bright pink plastic chopsticks and a big knife. He looked a little awkward and shy, because I was fascinated and staring.
I wondered if I should contain my curiosity and look away. But then, I really really REALLY wanted to learn how to make jiaozi, and I didn't much care that I was standing on a concrete slab under the blue sky, next to the steel skeleton of my household shelter. So, I plucked up my courage, caught hold of The Husband's hand, towed him over there, and asked brightly "May I watch you make jiaozi? I wanna learn."
And then he made magic before my eyes. Some flour, a little water. A few flicks of hand and wrist. The dough was ready. Chop chop chop, went the knife and the meat was all mixed up with Chinese cabbage, Chinese parsley, ginger, garlic and paprika. Salt ( a lot). Soy sauce (also a lot).
Then he got out a short end of a broom. It looked exactly like my small rolling pin. He rolled out the dough and then he showed me how to wrap it.
They were perfect little jiaozi too. Quite unlike the leather stuffed pillows I made here. The next day, I returned him the favour with Petunia's Apple Pie which he promptly unmoulded onto a newspaper and shared with his friends. I was a little taken aback but I do admit that he did what I thought quite impossible. I've never thought it was possible to flip an apple pie over twice and have it remain intact.