Peking duck, fish heads and rice

Happy Valentine's Day to sweethearts everywhere. What kind of romantic things do you have planned for Tuesday's special day? Sweet rolls in bed with honey? A gourmet dinner? For my man, that would be pork chops and applesauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, fresh asparagus and homemade bread. And for his favorite dessert - me, along with a piece of scrumptious cherry pie topped with vanilla ice cream.

But since February is also Heart Month, as soon as I've cleared the table on Tuesday, it's back to good healthy eating. Instead of all those Valentine calories and fat grams from pork chops and gravy, we'll eat fish heads and rice. Oh no, that's what we ate in Hong Kong. I think instead we may have salmon steaks and rice, along with broccoli and salad. I want my husband to last as long as I do.

Statistics show cardiovascular disease is the main killer of both men and women in America today, so it's prudent to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle. We all know the recommendations for daily exercise, no smoking and a nutritious low-fat diet, but we should also know the signs and symptoms of an impending heart attack.

"It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest."

Radiating chest pain, sometimes to the neck, shoulder, arm or back, shortness of breath, weakness, fainting, nausea, sweating, irregular heartbeat - call 911. Don't mistake these symptoms for indigestion; don't shine them on. It could be the "big AMI" - acute myocardial infarction - which causes damage or death to the heart muscle. If your heart dies, so do you. Then there would be no more happy Valentine's days - for you or your sweetheart.

Hong Kong Peking duck, Happy Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dog. Once upon a time I nearly got lost in Hong Kong. My husband and I spent 10 days there and I thought I knew my way around pretty good, but when I lost sight of Norbert, I got worried. I finally saw his head across the crowded street. I only found him because he was so much taller than all the Chinese people around him.

Hong Kong has one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbors in the world. The name Hong Kong means "beautiful lagoon." But when we vacationed there in 1965, the harbor was overcrowded with thousands of Chinese families packed into houseboats - and they were not the luxurious kind of houseboat that you rent on Lake Powell.

One night we took a little boat ride out to a big, beautiful floating restaurant. Two Navy friends went along with us and we all ordered Peking duck for dinner. What an exciting meal that was. There was a waiter for each of us and they brought many different exotic-looking dishes to the table. All of these gourmet foods were made from different parts of the duck. That included their webbed-feet, their flat bill and even their tiny saw teeth. This special Chinese Peking duck dinner was a three-hour dining experience we'll never forget.

n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.


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