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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Food #2: A day in the life...

So as I write this, I am eating dinner. Yeah, I know you’re not supposed to work at the table, but I’m not at the table. Of course you’re not supposed to eat in your room either. But my hosts have retired to watch TV in their room with their meals, so house rules and I can do what I want. :-)

I thought you might be interested in what a typical day of meals is here:

In the morning, after showering and dressing, I sit down at the table. The cook has already set out breakfast. Today we are having Iddli, which is basically steamed rice flour cakes served with sambar (a dhal-type lentil stew if you recall) and a coconut chutney.

With my breakfast is traditional Indian tea, which is black tea, often with some spices, half milk, half-water and plenty of sugar. I rather like it, preferring it over English tea style any day. Coffee is made the same way, which again, I rather like better than the bitter dark Starbucks style.

Lunch today I order masala dosa, which is basically dosa (recall, a thin crispy rice-crepe) with stuff inside it (the masala), in this case a saffron potato filling. It comes, as all South Indian dishes do, with a variety of condiments, including sambar, a spicy red paste, a white paste and a green paste. The white paste is a different variation of the coconut chutney I had for breakfast. The red I don’t know the name of & the green I can’t identify. They’re all good. My colleague is taking a call on his cell and I forget to ask what they are by the time he gets off.

That has been one of my early little challenges. I had to explain to my housemates that I was asking what everything was not because my eating of the yellow mixed stuff or the red mixed stuff was dependent on the answer, but because I really wanted to know what things were called. I’ve learned it is simpler to wait until I had eaten half before asking...

During the day, the office has a few half-cups of tea or sometimes coffee and usually a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon of nuts, snack mix, sweets or samosas. The samosas remind me of summer Ultimate where we used to buy them from a local lady between games Monday nights. These are probably better, but those were gold at the time. ;-)

Dinner tonight is rice with a dish of some pickled mini okra-shaped green vegetable. It probably is a type of okra. It’s tasty, regardless, kind of tangy, a bit spicy. For the rice there is this lip-tingling hot oil concoction and some curd, a watery yoghurt. Wryly I note that even the curd has chillies in it. The South Indians love their spice and use it liberally in everything, even apparently in the yoghurt traditionally meant as an offset...

To the meal I’ve added two pieces of KFC chicken strips Sonya picked up for me on her way home. I feel like it is cheating, but they were left for me and you know guilty pleasures… As I munch on the greasy finger I try to think of the last time I had KFC. I remember why I don’t tend to eat it. It just isn’t good. I hope the chain doesn’t get as big here as they did in China.

I put the leftovers in the fridge and the dishes in the sink and start to think about the tasty things we’ll have tomorrow...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy McKay. We'll be thinking of you during the holidays while we feast on our dull North American turkey ;-)

Xmas hugs to you and all the best for the New Year!

Elissa and Mike