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Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Bread and Butter

Alright, let's recommence with the food posts!

I will commence commencing by commenting that the food that American Airlines and Japan Airlines on the way back from LA was nothing short of atrocious. I think I would have preferred a ten dollar discount on each flight.

For example,

A salad made with about 90% iceberg lettuce and a few carrot shavings, and a main consisting of steamed carrots, cauliflower, beans, and white rice. No sauce, no nothin. I just mashed in the mini stick of butter and some of the salt and pepper. It was edible, but given how much effort it looks like the airlines are putting into their standard meals (e.g. personal pan pizzas!), I sort of felt like I got the short end of the stick.

Thankfully, the salad did come with a bit of dressing. A whole four-tenths of an ounce of it, inside of a glass bottle that itself probably weighed four ounces. Where is the sense in that? I realize it's ridiculous to complain about such minuscule details when the practice of flying itself is so environmentally rapacious, but come on. The plane is already loaded with bottles of cola, juice, tea, and so forth; why not have one for salad dressing, too?

A vegan cookie that pissed me off because the area of the section devoted to listing the ingredients was about 80% of the size of the cookie.

More ridiculous pita action. One with tomatoes and cucumbers, no sauce. One with...sliced kiwis and strips of red bell pepper? I felt like there was a kindergarten class in the back assembling my meals.

But enough with the griping! As soon as I got back home, things improved drastically. For instance,

Mixed black rice with kimchi, an awesome sweet-savory eggplant/zucchini/pepper side dish that Chris made for me, and braised* tofu and peppers in perilla powder.

Looks artsier this way.

Then, Monday afternoon, my CSA box came in. (I have been meaning to do a post about that business, by the way.)

And then, the crown jewel!

I haven't gone shopping yet, since I want to maintain fidelity to my favorite organic shops, which I only visit on Mondays while I'm out on other bidness. Thus, I've been mostly scrounging by at the school cafeteria, which on Wednesday night meant I ate only a bowl of seaweed soup. Everything else on the buffet was meatly.

A few hours after getting home, as my belly grew rumbly and I contemplated making popcorn (again, no fruit in the house yet), my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor Mathan. It bothers me that he prefers using the doorbell, which makes all sorts of noise and activates a peephole camera and takes about 2 seconds to turn itself of, rather than knocking, but I'm not going to let that come between me and authentic Tamil food.

I opened the door to find him holding a bowl, the contents of which were obscured by a tissue. Pushing it towards my face, Mathan told me that he and his wife Deepa had whipped a little something up and wanted me to try it. I sniffed through the paper, and despite not having had it in more than a year and a half, identified the smell of Poori in under a second!

Poori is a deep-fried south Indian bread. Oily, light, crispy, and usually served with a spicy, saucy potato dish - somehow the fatty crisps and the spicy mush complement each other just right.

Instead of potatoes, though:

Deep-fried tofu! Tough on the outside, creamy on the inside, permeated by a sauce that was so good I no longer remember what it tasted like.

In an effort to be a kind and gracious neighbor, I washed the bowl, headed over to Mathan's, invited myself in, and helped myself to thirds and fourths. Deeeee-licious.

Anyone else ever received surprise deliveries of amazing food? I'm thinking it should be a trend. I am thinking of exacting some very hummusy revenge on them in the next few days...

*also, expired. 10 days past the date. A little stinky, fetid even, but probably good for the digestion.


AZ said...

A return to food! Just what I have been waiting for...

Andy said...

The kiwi pita is hilarious, especially your comments on its assembly.

I'm looking forward to getting my first post-marriage/honeymoon CSA box as well.

I'm really glad I got to see you and your dad. It was a blast. When would be the best time of year to visit you in Korea?