Wednesday, September 01, 2010

eat, pray, love, an alternative

EAT: I read a cookbook review on Good Reads some months ago by a reader who complained about how the “foodie douchebags” had hijacked cooking. I thought that was a funny, wonderful expression, mostly for the /ooo/ of it. Yesterday I bought some “caffe latte almonds,” and while I was walking back to the office eating those fat beauties the expression came to me and I had the urge to say it out loud. I did, exactly at the moment someone I knew came up behind me. Should I act as if I’d said nothing, or explain I’d said something else? "Loopy duped hags?" "Pooperscoop fangs?"

PRAY: I’m no foodie, and caffe latte almonds will ever do much to shape my perception of place, but no one’s immune to flavor memories, which often begin when you’re away from home eating something you wouldn’t usually eat. My favorite comes from the town of Shanhaiguan in China, which I visited with my friend Sandy. We found a clean restaurant, where I ordered a fish soup that was little more than a fish flank floating in a bowl of broth with a few leaves of cilantro. In Chinese, cilantro is called “fragrant grass” and it’s sold in lovely bundles. In Chinese, you drink soup, you don’t eat it. In Chinese lore, cilantro was associated with immortality. In Shanhaiguan, there’s the ocean and the Great Wall and I’m surprised that also this soup is still going on.

LOVE: My step-father was always one of those people who remembered his vacations by what he’d eaten. My mother would say, ‘remember the year we stayed at the Watergate in DC,’ and he’d say, ‘oh yeah, that was where I ate the butter-crumb stuffed wild mushrooms in marsala sauce.’ There were those of us who thought he’d missed the point of the trip completely, and others who felt he’d hit the nail on the head. My step-father turns 86 next week. He was a good father to me. Although his short-term memory is shot and his overall awareness is ebbing I do hope he will again experience much deliciousness.


Susan said...

Oh! I too, love the sound of "foodie douchebags." Yes.

Kathleen said...

Good sound, yes. I just don't want to EAT any foodie douchebags. EW.

Thank you for the alternative to the movie. I still might see it for $1 at the library. For the pizza.

ArtSparker said...

Just read a post today from a fellow-blogger who walked out of the film.

My father is much the same as yours as regards memory.

Sonam said...

Don't remember the soup. Do remember the classical architecture of the town and the walk to the end portion of the great wall. Next time we'll have to go to the other side. Where is it? Xinjiang?

SarahJane said...

Hey Sandra -
I'm sure you had something more adventurous to eat! I have some photographs of our trip in an album somewhere. I remember walking past a small house on the way to the Wall where there was a wildly barking dog, and the Brits we met at the hostel. It was lovely there. I'm so glad we went.

Sonam said...

Barely remember meeting foreigners at the Wall but do remember the crumbling wall. We tipi toed our way along. I recall eating utterly pink jiaozi in Wuhan and disgorging it all. I'll have to look for my photos. They're somewhere.

Gillion said...

Have you tried dumplings and roast ducks? They are the famous and traditional Beijing dieshes. And also bird's nest soup? Its a delicacy in China.

Enjoy your days~~~


SarahJane said...

Hi Gillion -
Yes, I've tried those dishes. Chinese food (in China) is my favorite cuisine. Unfortunately it's not done very well in Germany, so I hardly eat it anymore. Too bad. Dumplings were always one of my favorites, along with Kung pao chicken and Ma Po dofu.

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