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Homemade Cookies 自己做餅乾 in Chinese


homemade cookies自己做餅乾


(zi4 ji3) (zuo4) (bing3 gan1)

(self, one’s self) (to make) (cookie)

Homemade cookies


I eat a lot of cookies.



(wo3 men.) (zhu4) (zai4) (tai2 wan1) (de. shi2 hou4), (kao3) (hen3) (duo1) (bing3 gan1)

(we) (to live) (at) (Taiwan) (when), (to bake or roast) (very) (many) (cookie)

When we lived in Taiwan, we baked many cookies.


We did not even usually buy store bought cookies in Idaho.



(wo3 de.) (jia1 ren2) (dou1) (xiang3) [(tai2 wan1) (de.)] (bing3 gan1) (tai4) (qi2 guai4)

(my) (house people) (all) (to think) [(Taiwan)(adjective marker)] (cookie) (too) (strange)

My family all thought Taiwanese cookies were too strange.


Most Taiwanese do not have ovens.



[(wo3 men.)(de.)] (zhong1 wen2) (lao3 shi1) (hen3) (xi3 huan1) (chi1) (wo3 men.) [(zi4 ji3)(zuo4)(de.)](bing3 gan1)

[our] (Chinese) (teacher{s}) (very) (to like) (to eat) (our) [(self) (to make) (adjective marker)] (cookie{s})❸

Our Chinese teachers very much liked to eat our homemade cookies.


We couldn’t make them the first few weeks we lived there,



(yin3 wei4) (wo3) (bu4) (zhi1 dao4) (qu4) (na3 li3) (mai3) (mian4 fen3)

(because) (I) (not) (to know) (to go) (where) (to buy) (wheat powder)❹

because I did not know where to buy flour.


And not only did we not speak Chinese,



(er2 qei3) (tai2 wan1 de.) [(hong2) (tang2)] (gen1) [(mei3 guo2)(de.)] (hong2 tang2) (bu4) (yi1 yang4)

(moreover) (Taiwanese) [(red)(sugar) = brown sugar]❺ (and) [(America)(adjective marker)] (brown sugar) (not) (the same)

Moreover, Taiwanese brown sugar and American brown sugar are not the same.


But cookies are important,



(suo3 yi3) (wo3) (hai2 shi4) (xia4 ding4 jue2 xin) (zi4 ji3) (zuo4)

(so) (I) (still, nevertheless) (set my heart on) (self) (to make)

so I made a firm resolution to make them.


While we liked to try authentic Chinese food sometimes,



(wo3 men.) (dou1) (geng1) (chang2) (xi3 huan1) [(zi4 ji3) (shou2 xi1)❽ (de.)] (shi2 wu4)

(we) (all) (more, to a greater degree) (often) (to like) [(self) (familiar) (adjective marker)] (food)

We most often like familiar food.


I shopped at the Taipei Costco every couple of weeks.



(zai4) (na4 li3) (wo3) (ke3 yi3) (mai3 dao4) (hen3) (da) (bao1 zhuang1) (de.) (xiao3) (pian4) (qiao3 ke4 li4)

(at) (there) (I) (can) (buy) (very) (big) (package) (small) (piece) (chocolate)

There I could buy a very big bag of chocolate chips.


I had to find about 4 different specialty stores, too.



(wo3) (ye3) (dei3) (mai3) (kao3 pan2) (han4) (xiang1 cao3 jing1)

(I) (also) (need) (to buy) (bake pan) (and) (vanilla extract)

I also needed to buy a baking sheet and vanilla.


It was like a mystery scavenger hunt.



(ji2 shi3) (cai2 liao4) (jiu4) (zai4) (za2 huo4 dian4) (li3) , (chang2 chang2) (wo3) (mei2) (kan4 dao4), (yin1 wei4) (bao1 zhuang1) (gen1) (mei3 guo2 de.) (bao1 zhuang1) (hen3) (bu4) (tong2)

(even if) (ingredients) (exactly) (at) (grocery store) (in), (often) (I) (not) (to see), (because) (package) (and) (American) (package) (very) (not) (similar)

Even if the ingredients were in the grocery store, I often did not see them, because the packaging was very different from American packaging.


Finally, we could tell everyone in the apartment the good news:



(bing3 gan1) [(kao3) (hao3)] (le.)

(cookie{s}) [(to bake) (to finish)] (further emphasizes completion)

The cookies are done!


They would inevitably say,



(na4 xie1) (kao3 hao3) (gang1) (chu1 lu2) (de.) (bing3 gan1), (wei2 dao4) (zhen1) (shi4) (xiang1 pen1 pen1)

(those) (baked) (just now) (fresh out of the oven) (adjective marker) (cookie{s}), (smell) (really) (is) (sweet smelling aroma)

“Those freshly baked cookies smell really good.”


It wouldn’t take long.



(hen3) (kuai4) (wo3 men.) (jiu4) (chi1 wan2 le.) (bing3 gan1)

(very ) (fast) (we) (just then) (to eat to finish completely) (cookie{s})

We would finish eating all the cookies very fast.


But that is okay.



(zong3 suan4) (wo3) (zhi1 dao4) (qu4) (na4 li3) (mai3) (cai2 liao4) (le.)

(finally) (I) (to know) (to go) (where) (to buy) (ingredients) (sense of completion)

Finally, I know where to go to buy the ingredients!


Here is an audio of the above sentences, with my tutor reading the Chinese:

Notes on things I reviewed or particularly learned while writing this:

❶ I am always struck by the use an adjective phrase in explaining “when” something happened in Chinese. The phrasing is similar to the English phrase “lunch time.” That is why the 的 (de.), an adjective marker, is always in front of the 時候 (shi2 hou4), which means “time.” The whole string of words in front of it is being used to describe “the time.” So, in this sentence, it is structurally “we-lived-in-Taiwan time.”

❷ There is no distinction between baking and roasting when speaking in Chinese. It is all just dry cooking to them, so the word 烤 (kao3) is sufficient for anything cooked in an oven.

❸ There is no plural form of nouns in Chinese. Frequently there is a numeral indicator of some sort, such as an exact amount or a comparative like many or most, but sometimes the plural is just assumed when it is very normal, as with cookies in this sentence.

❹ If you want to read more of the comedy of errors as we tried to find flour for the first time, go to this story: How to Say in Chinese – I Want to Buy Wheat Flour to Make Bread

❺ Note that in Taiwan the color “red” is used to describe what in America is called “brown sugar.” The second time I use the words in the sentence, I just translate to what they mean, not the literal color.

❻ 下定決心 (xia4 ding4 jue2 xin1) is a four word idiom. A literal translation is along the lines of “to put it down for certain in my heart.” My tutor say, “settled like an anchor, mot budging.”

下 (xia4) to put down

定 (ding4) to decide or settle, definite, sure

決 (jue2) to decide, certain

心 (xin1) heart

❼ Another example of how there is only one 的 (de.) at the end, after a list of adjectives preceding a noun.

❽ In Taiwan, the first character in 熟悉 is pronounced (shou2) {which is how my tutor says it in the audio}, but in mainland China it is typically (shu1). However, saying it either way will probably be understood, much like we can usually understand people speaking with a British accent.

❾ Similar to what was noted in ❼ above, but in this case, specifically the Chinese way of saying describing chocolate chips when in English the preposition “of” would be used.

➓ You can review the vocabulary options for grocery stores, and their respective specific meanings, on this blog: Chinese Shopping Vocabulary

⓫ Adding 到 (dao4) to a verb gives it a sense of having been done, or the goal “reached, arrived at,” which is the meaning of the character 到 (dao4).

⓬ In Chinese, there is always a verb indicating which action a person or thing is “done” doing. To show that it is “done,” the character 好 (hao3), which is the common one that also can mean “good,” is used for another of it’s meanings, “to finish.” Adding 好 (hao3) to a verb completes the idea of what exactly is done.