It’s time to answer the great question plaguing mankind for centuries: What’s for dinner?
My greatest ambivalence in life is the fact that I both love and hate to cook. I’m an excellent cook if I must say so myself, and yes, it took more years of practice than I care to think about. However, I have those days when fatigue and arthritis make me even steer clear of Ore Ida French fries because putting them on a tray and attempting to stick it in the oven is just too much like cooking to be bothered with.
Sometimes even I have to break down and cook, however. The first task is to get supplied. I love living in NorCal because I have dozens of grocery stores ranging from the wholly American mundane (Lucky’s, Safeway, Raley’s, etc.) to stores specific to different nationalities and regions. I love Asian and Indian supermarkets. The food is fresher, cheaper and you can always count on amusing somebody by being the only white person in there. I’m not joking; I almost made some poor woman choke on a dumpling at Ranch 99 because I happened to be white in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m really sorry about that. I just wanted to pat her on the shoulder and tell her not to adjust the television set because I really am white. Unfortunately I think she misinterpreted my presence there as an invasion of sorts.
Anyway, I love the variety of products you just can’t get in American supermarkets. The problem is, I don’t even know what some of it is, let alone how to make it into dinner. Of course, there’s always the situation that arises where I know exactly what I’m looking at, and through nothing other than cultural bias, wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. So, come with me through the busy streets of Oakland and let’s go shopping. Oh, just a word of warning. The crosswalk signals don’t appear that often; but when they do, it’s a total five-way free-for-all of shuffling bodies. Mind your step, and put that damn gun down. What did I tell you about that?
Now, traditionally Western born and raised individuals shy away from these:
They’re very good, and I’d put them on my menu any day. You don’t have to eat the head. Nice thing about smoked duck is that is comes already cooked. You just heat up some vegetables and Bob’s your uncle, or possibly Vu’s your uncle in this case. Just stop saying “ick” and try it some time. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to food, but there’s even things I’ll avoid. Take this for example:
Here’s another tender, tasty morsel for you. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? These are tough, gristly, boney and just downright unappetizing.
What’s a delicacy here is someone else’s Welfare rations. Take scad, for example.
You see, this is the only food the poor in the Philippines can afford to eat. It’s essentially Food Stamp fish. The effect is the same as if I took an American to a high-end restaurant and found Chef Boyardee Beef n’ Macaroni on the menu. Yes, that bad. But the fish itself is quite good salted, if you must know.
Here’s another delicacy that I’m trying to avoid:
I have some reservations about eating a pig’s nose. I’m not sure what it is, but I think it’s because I’ve been to pig farms and I know that most likely that nose spent the majority of its time buried in a mixture of shit and mud. Not my idea of flavor enhancement. Maybe I’ll just go for the bacon and eggs instead…
These would be century eggs, Pidan or 100 years eggs but for the fact that this is modern times and they were probably artificially aged in about two weeks. (Chemistry is fun!) Don’t believe me? Click on that last sentence to find out how. I take no responsibility for any food poisoning that results.
Okay…checking the grocery list here…oh, pick up some Idako, if you will.
People are thrifty in other countries. They have retained the art and skill of using the parts the rest of us throw out. Take oxtail, for one. I love oxtail stew and make it myself. I think the rest of America would do their best to convince themselves that it wasn’t a cow’s tail and then order a burger instead. I still need to learn how to make kama. There are all types, and I have to confess that the jaw meat of a fish really is the softest, most succulent tastiest part.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m just about full up. Time for dessert. Let’s see what we have here…
Like I always say, I think I’ll pass on dessert, I’m drinking. Let’s see what there is to put in this glass.
As the green fairy takes us back home you should ponder what you’re having for dinner tonight. Before you make a harsh judgment about another’s choices or turn your nose up at pig snout and Idako, think long and hard about the things you ate today. Better yet, click here and see for yourself. Yeah, I’d rethink that whole frozen dinner thing too.