In this time of isolation, fear and grief, Americans are baking bread and cookies, simmering chili and pozole for hours, digging into buttery mashed potatoes.
And some are firing up their hot pots.
When Jessica Wu needs a taste of home, a warmth in her stomach to fend off pandemic malaise, she puts a pot of soup at the center of her dining table, a portable electric stove keeping the liquid at a constant boil. She dunks raw ingredients — thinly sliced lamb, tofu, shrimp balls, corn on the cob, mushrooms, cabbage — into the soup one bite at a time, just a few seconds for meat, longer for the vegetables.
In Japanese, it is called shabu shabu — “swish swish,” for the motion diners make with their chopsticks when blanching a mouthful. In Mandarin, it is huoguo, meaning hot pot, with broth that can range from a mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn concoction to a milky herbal mix….