Pickling ume looks time consuming. I once watched my mom’s biǎo jiě (cousin)(specifically, older female cousin on the maternal side) and her husband massage and brine the sour green apricots for a long time. We’d plucked them earlier that day at a family farm deep in the woods.
The Japanese turn ume into soft poetic balls (Pantone 702 U-ish) that pair well with rice. The Taiwanese turn ume into dark, sweet, tart, prune-y things.
For dinner, I cooked buckwheat noodles to pair with spinach and broth. Chupa found the noodles in the sink and began eating them out of the colander.
“Mmmm,” he said.
“Do you like them?”
“Mmmm, warm rubber bands,” he replied.
“Want to play a game?” Mom would ask.
The game turned out to be us pinching and pulling the skin on the tops of our hands in a perpetual dog pile of claw hands. She’d pull/pinch the skin on the top of my right hand with her right hand. While she held the pinch, I put my left hand over her right hand to pinch her skin and hold it while she put her left hand over my left hand and pinched hard. I’d take my right hand from the bottom, and put it over her left hand to pinch, and so on. This game never lasted long, as Mom, smiling, would speed up the process until we ended with a big collapsed hand pile.
This game was painful and not fun, but Mom enjoyed it. She probably had some nostalgic attachment to it.