Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Responses and Foodie Dreams

Reading Mallozzi's blog brought up some random thoughts:

Re: the table and the explosion. Obviously the man has not spent time blowing things up for fun and profit.

Emily's dinner. We have things in common, Emily and I. I was a substitute teacher for seven years on base in Yokosuka. Enjoyed it immensely, although I tried to duplicate the experience here in the states, it was not the same.

I too have played a video game without the quarters. Some days my experience of the 70s is better left unremembered.

Food. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? (Weird? Strange? Unusual?) Anyway, I think I have had camel, but considering my Farsi was sorely lacking and the man's English was worse, it could have been goat. At any rate, it was delicious. At the caravanserai we could get chicken in rice topped with butter and um, a berry I thought was a currant but is not. Yum. I will have to look that dish up specifically. And Weinerschnitzel at the German rs restaurant, and limeade made fresh from Persian limones. Currywurst in Berlin. Now I'm getting hungry.

Japanese food, well, are we talking odd ingredients or odd interpretations of Western dishes? I loved squid pizza at Shakey's, the corn pizza was second. Favorite Japanese fast food: teriyaki MOS burgers, with the big wad of lettuce and a glob of mayo. Their fries were killer and so was their coffee shake. I think the MOS is Mountain Ocean Sky. McDonald's served corn chowder, perfect in winter. Mashed potato salad served in a hot dog bun? Pizza with mayo? Not so much. French Pastry shops? I understand the meaning of "to die for." And Dunkin' Donuts, the 24 hour refuge of the strung-out partier waiting for the subways to resume operation.

When I went on the bus tour with my houseowner, we had lovely bentos in an old ryokan. I was intimidated by the "beef sashimi" but as it turned out, I really liked that also. Apparently Kobe beef is just as good raw as cooked. And a sad note, I don't like sashimi. I have had plenty of excellent sashimi, and it tastes fine, but I cannot get past the texture. Squishy. I don't like oysters for the same reason. There was a little bar and grill place near the train station, not a single word was in Romanji much less English. I could read some Hiragana and Katakana, but truthfully, I don't know the names of half the dishes I tried. "Kaki" is oysters. "Kaki Furai" Is Fried Oysters. Fu-rai = fry. Phonetic, try it out. I heartily dislike Kaki prepared in any fashion. I couldn't afford fugu, probably just as well. That's blowfish, deadly poison if prepared incorrectly.

Japanese street festival cooking is a whole other category. Okonomiyaki. I adore Okonomiyaki. Kind of a pancake with noodles and cabbage and seafood and an egg and ... well, yummy. And Tako Balls, although the real name slips my mind now. No, Octopii do not have testes; these were dough balls with a bit of octopus in the middle, sauced and sprinkled with norii. While I do like squid, I never got the taste for squid on a stick or squid jerky. Yakisoba is not exotic, but you can't have a festival without a yakisoba stand. Yaki = stir-fried and soba = noodles. Loosely. I also ate late night drunken cart food, udon or soba or yakitori. Udon is a fat noodle. Tori is chicken (most of the time) so it a was chicken on a stick. Yum. The chicken livers on a stick? Not so yum. Chicken feet on a stick? I have no clue, I skipped those treats. Eating is so much fun when you're freezing, the ground is swaying because you're this much too drunk, and the men want to fondle your American hips. I miss Japan.

Every New Year, our neighbor would bring us a beautiful bento box with delicacies she had prepared herself. The emphasis was on pickled things, the kampo was the best. I think that's a pickled gourd. The Golden Roe, I am ashamed to admit it, the very expensive Golden Roe got fed to the cats. Don't tell. Another neighbor made bamboo shoot rice for us each spring. We had a bamboo hill in the front yard, MyLarry dug up shoots and distributed them to the neighbor grannies. I never got the hang of cooking fresh bamboo. I did prepare fish pretty well, now and then MyLarry and the guys would get up at three a.m. and hit the Yokohama fish market. Vietnamese Black Tiger Prawns, doesn't get much better than that.

Passing through the Philippines, I had the chance to try dog and balut, but took a pass. Balut is the fermented chicken embryos. Fear made me sensible. I gorged on a variety of lumpia though, mmmm, like egg rolls, but so much better. Never made it to Thailand, but MyLarry says the roasted bugs aren't half bad. I will have to take his word on that.

Best seafood ever? Straight out of the Indian Ocean on Diego Garcia, cleaned, and onto the grill. Or into the wok or ... well, we had a bunch of appliances and the BBQ grill, and the guys had been fishing on the Mike-Boat all day. Shark and grouper and what else I don't know, but they were tasty fishies. Had hand-caught lobsters too, except they were languista (sp?). And beer and strawberry dacquiris. Life was good. The alcoholic donkey only made the outings more festive.


archersangel said...

i could never eat any of that, but i guess if i had to......

golden roe, that's caviar right?

and an alcoholic donkey? i think i saw one in a crazy comedy movie. or maybe it was a dog......

MaggieMayDay said...

Oh, most of it was quite excellent.

Golden roe is indeed fish eggs, but they are a deep yellow, and in a hard slice, not loose like caviar.

A feral donkey, it would beg for beer, grasp the can in its mouth, toss its head back and chug the whole thing. He had quite the beer gut, and would pass out serenely after three or four beers.

kahanabay said...

I can barely type for laughing over your further description of the alcoholic donkey. And somebody told me that life on Diego Garcia is dull....

Living in Hawaii as an Army brat only gave me a small taste of all the things you've described, but that's definitely where I picked up a liking for Japanese/Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese food (plus Portuguese doughnuts, and Hasegawa's shave ice). Yummm. And I remember "bento-san" from Japanese friends at school. It seemed exotic at the time, but now I know my own experience barely scratched the surface of Oriental culture. *Your* experiences, on the other hand - plus those from the Middle East - "now, that's someone who knows more than a bit about different cultures," I'm thinking. Cool. (Or as they say in yet another culture, kewl. Oy.)

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