Friday, June 3, 2011

Food!: What's Your Home-Cooked Meal Like?

A recent discussion with a few friends revealed that fact that I had neglected to make a video of the most frequent dish my visitors have to put up with when visiting me at my abode. That resulted in a hasty trip to the kitchen to produce a bowl of Thai style Tom Yum soup that made the whole condo smell like boiled lemongrass and added a few more splatters to my favorite white shirt that will probably remain on despite of laundering. Oh well, the soup was good and that made up for many sins.

Tom Yum soup cooking being quite far from labor-intensive I had a lot of time to let my thoughts wander while standing around ensuring that no chicken part manage to escape from the stove top... And what did I wonder about? Food! What are other people cooking in their kitchen for dinner? I've seen many other world cuisine via their restaurant representation, but I doubt that those folks living in England or Germany or Greece, etc, eat the stuff I see in English, German, or Greek restaurants here everyday. Do they?

I went surfing a bit on Youtube and found a few interesting clips like the one above. Sorry to say it doesn't show me much of what Germans actually have for breakfast or snack or lunch... Here in America most people have cereal for breakfast (cold with milk or 'hot' oatmeal), or they have a bagel with sour cream or a couple of toast (white or multigrain sliced bread we get from a grocery store, not freshly baked ones from a baker), or if they are really hungry and have time to cook they might make a French toast or pancakes or omelette.

Typical American meals. Not everyone eats like this, of course, but in general we're heavy on fat and carb and should eat more veggies.
When I was a student in Missouri and lived in a dorm I loved the school cafeteria's Belgian waffle or biscuit and gravy (or rather, for me, maple syrup!) breakfast. Very hearty... and I only managed to keep from having to buy new (and bigger) clothes with that sort of diet by working so much I only got to sleep 15-20 hrs per week.

Homemade lunch here is usually a sort of sandwich. The healthier folks go with cold cut sandwich and salad while others the 'melt' sandwiches. I can have the grilled cheese sandwich for lunch everyday without ever getting tired of the thing. Tuna melt sandwich used to be another favorite until I ran into a giant one at Carnegie Deli in November of 2006 after catching Donizetti's Dom Sebastien at Carnegie Hall (Vesselina Kasarova was singing Zayda there)... To the consternation of the proprietor and other diners I only managed to swallow 1/4 of it (and that must have weighed a pound. The thing was humongous!). I remember it tasted very good then, but somehow I had never felt more urge for the tuna melt sandwich after that.

Dinner is our big meal and it ranges from macaroni and cheese to steak. The favorite dishes, especially during the football season, are pizza, barbeque steak, or hamburger (finger food, so to speak). Those who don't eat while watching sport on TV are probably having pasta. In the growing Asian-American population, however, rice dishes are served 3 times a day. Thai food is on the rise, and so is Vietnamese food. There are Pho shops popping up everywhere! My favorite dish? Simple fried eggs mixed with steamed rice and seasoned with fish sauce. It only takes 5 minutes to make (if you already have steamed rice on hand)!

By the way, here is how you eat at a Thai restaurant (or at a Thai house): Thai people like to order entrees to share. Everyone eats a lot of rice with the entree (that's why Thai food is so 'spicy' and intensely flavored. You are supposed to have a spoonful of rice with every bite of the entree). You eat with the spoon and use the fork to help stray food into the spoon. Spoon some rice onto your plate, then spoon the entrees on to the rice. You don't just eat the pasta sauce without the pasta, and you don't just eat the Thai entree without the rice!

And when you are done eating, put the fork and spoon together and leave them between 4 and 5 o'clock on the plate. That tells other people (servers included) that you are finish. It also tells the house dogs hiding under the table that it is now safe to come out to try to vie for the left-over.

So... what do you eat at home?


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you could eat anything at all after experiencing VK and Carnegie Hall ;)

Smorg said...

Well, I had to eat something, Eye. I caught such a bad string of turbulent on the flight there (the plane never stopped rocking once it got past St. Louis or so before arriving to NY 3 hrs before the show) I puked out everything I had eaten since grade school by the time I got back on the ground. :o( Then, of course, I couldn't eat anything for a while, then there was that 3 hrs opera.

It was a physically horrendous experience (and I caught the first flight back to CA after spending the night at the airport... Had to work the next day), but one I'd repeat again at the drop of a hat for a chance to hear Frau K live. She was marvelous! :oD

Anonymous said...

A truly devoted fan!
NB: Eyes with an S .... I try not to take a monocular view ;)