***I received a message from Jane Lin, proprietress of Mama Tong – she and her partners are back in biz under new ownership!
In Chinese Medicine five element theory, autumn is the season associated with the element Metal which by nature – contracts. It is the time of year when nature’s vital energies turn inward. We can witness it in the trees – chlorophyll returning to its core, leaves changing color from green to red to orange – and finally letting go. As the days and nights become cooler, our own body’s energy begins to contract as well.
Metal is associated with the Lungs, and many of us will find our immune system is stimulated and challenged during the autumn months as we are assailed by allergens, bacteria, viruses, and the cool dry air. It is a time of year that we can all benefit from slowing down and turning our own energies inward, to rest and be nourished. It is soup weather – brrrrrr – and I know I am not the only one feeling those autumn allergies, or fighting off a cold.
And on that note, I wanted to share this with you. Have you heard of Mama Tong? They are an Oakland-based Chinese soup company specializing in homemade medicinal soups. This weekend I heard about Mama Tong from a colleague in my doctoral program who recommends their soups to women who have recently given birth. According to the two sister’s who together make up Mama Tong, the inspiration for the company came from the ritual foods prepared for post-natal recovery known as “zuo yuezi.” They explain that soups are a staple of the zuo yuezi diet and traditionally prepared by your mama, and while the soups are purposefully prepared for childbirth recovery and breastfeeding support, they are appropriate for anyone in need of some nourishment …I think that would be all of us!
With a tiny letdown I learned that Mama Tong’s soup kitchen is currently on hiatus – their biz has been such a raging success that they are taking a breather to contemplate their business strategy – however, the recipes for their tonic stews can be found on their website. What a gift!
These recipes come from their mothers, and before them, their grandmothers – all of them are classic home remedies based on traditional Chinese medicine. I am pretty excited to cook up a pot of the Pork Vinegar Stew, and the Kabocha and Azuki Bean Soup sounds equally amazing. Go peek at all their recipes for yourself….yummm.