For dinner I boiled some rice vermicelli and plopped it into a pan of sauteed coconut milk curry with green onions. After a while I plopped in an egg because, hell, why not? Could use some tasty unborn chickens in my dinner. End result: a weird curry laced noodley creature that veered towards the end of untastiness. I've actually made this dish before (sans the egg, although the egg was the best tasting thing this time) with equally disappointing results. Why did I make it? COS I'M A MORON. Also, I had a can of leftover coconut milk in my fridge and thought, "Hey, I can do something with that!" The curry just doesn't go with rice vermicelli, although it goes with plain rice just fine.
I ate my entire curry noodle creature, which is sitting somewhere in my digestive tract. (pokes ribs) For the love of god, it's hiding in my viscera! GOD KNOWS WHAT KIND OF EVIL IT'S PLOTTING! So why did I cook something that I was pretty certain would taste meh-full and just provide sustenance (which I don't need since I expended almost no energy today) instead of getting something tastier from the outside world, cooked by people who know what they're doing? (Damn, that's a pretty specific question.)
Adam just wrote a post about why he loves to cook. ...And it doesn't actually have much to do with my reason for cooking, but I agree with some of the things he says:
But more and more I make the effort to choose something that requires some effort; even if it's boiling some pasta and coating it with butter, nutmeg and parmesan. That takes 20 minutes, at the most. And it's pretty bad, nutrition-wise. But it's completely gratifying because I took the time to make it.
When I started cooking food, no matter how crappy (but sometimes pseudo-edible), I realized that it doesn't take that long to slap some food together from scratch. In my head, it's not worth saving time to reheat something mediocre that was frozen or canned when I could make a random dish from fresh ingredients (even if the thing I make tastes worse; don't ask me what principle I'm acting on, I just don't like buying frozen or canned foods most of the time, although you've probably noticed how often I buy chocolate bars and baked goods). It's somewhat more gratifying to eat something you made, or at least it's nice to know that you (hopefully) used good ingredients and aren't eating complete crap.
By no means am I a passionate cook. I don't even like following recipes (which could have something to do with why my food sucks) because that takes...effort. (The exception is for baked goods, since you kind of need to follow those recipes. However, I don't bake much because, as you're probably familiar with by now, I have a tendency to eat enough to feed small third world countries.) Actually, I usually go for what takes the least effort while still being something semi-nourishing and somewhat tasty.
I cringe when my mum says she wants rice noodles from Chinese take out. I usually reply with something like, "NOOOO!", not that I don't think Chinese take out is yummy, but because noodles cost less than $1 and in theory, you could make something like that at home somewhat easily. I'll admit, every time we make stir fried rice noodles, they never taste as good as from a restaurant, but...it's food, it's kind of decent, and it doesn't have any mysterious ingredients.
As much as I love eating, sometimes I think about how much easier and less stressful life would be if I didn't care about food. Today I ate one of my homemade chocolate chip cookies for lunch. At around 4 PM, I decided to eat a persimmon. After that, I ate the last fourth of my Seattle Chocolate dark chocolate truffle bar. For dinner around 8 PM, I made the splodgey curry noodle demon (while snacking on raw hazelnuts that I had completely forgotten about), after which I ate one of my homemade pumpkin cupcakes, another persimmon, and some random snacks (such as way too much Poifull).
So. My day was rather easy-going until dinner rolled around and I decided to eat THE FOOD WORLD AS CONTAINED IN MY KITCHEN. Bad, bad Robyn! It was so nice just not eating much all day (and of course, the chocolate didn't hurt) but then I tried making up for the disappointing noodle splodge by eating various sweets, which didn't work because I now resemble a pregnant woman in between her first and second trimesters. It's not very becoming, I assure you.
Ironically perhaps, the reason I wasn't eating much (aside from not being very hungry; if I had been craving something in particular I probably wouldn't have cooked the random noodle splodge but gone to Chinatown) was because I spent hours scouring the web for wines to put on my imaginary wine list. Food studies, I shake my fist at you! [shake] Making a wine list blindly, not just as someone who isn't legally old enough to drink, but as someone who doesn't even like alcohol, seems like the perfect formula for making a craptastic wine list, poised for failure, mocked by wine connoisseurs the world over. If you're curious enough to see my wine list, I'll put it at the end of this entry.
But first, a few random food related links!
- Lovescool goes to Japan: Kelli and Andrew of Lovescool, one of my favorite blogs, report about their trip to Japan, making me feel very sad that 1) I'm not in Japan and 2) I didn't pay much attention to the food when I was in Japan. One of my most vivid food-in-Japan memories is when my mum, brother and I ate at Haagen Dazs and were the only people not using a spoon to eat out of the cone. JAPANESE PEOPLE: THEY USE SPOONS! But anyway. The Lovescool entry gives a quick overview of yummy foods in Japan along with the almost eerily considerate ethos of Japanese employees.
- Kottke eats street food in Bangkok: Actually, he (and Meg) ends up eating a lot of food around Asia but I chose this entry because...I don't know. Scratch that, check out...
- Meg's delicious coconut tart discovery: Oh my god, I want one. No wait, I want ten. No wait, I want the machine that makes the coconut tarts. That's right.
- But going back to Jason's entry, his 7th footnote says that we shouldn't make excuses for not traveling due to lack of funds. I'd say the same about me making excuses about not doing lots of things. (sigh) I'm pretty lazy so I guess that's my main reason for not travelling. This last summer I didn't go anywhere outside of NJ or NY. No other states. Nada. The rest of the world is nonexistent. In the previous year I took a somewhat last minute trip to England, although I didn't plan it at all (I visited a friend) so it was like two weeks of sleeping late and hanging out with one of my best friends...in another country. The point of this drawn out babbling list item? I better go somewhere next year. It probably won't be Bangkok or Vietnam but I told my mum we should visit them (because we...haven't) and she didn't completely disagree with the idea! Score!
- Last link about this subject: ICE CREAM BOAT!!!
- HOOAH Energy Bar: It's one of those things I wish were a joke, but isn't. Via Metafilter.
The end. Today sucked. Instead of taking solace in the fact that I'm alive, well fed, edumuhcated, and have not a real care in the world, I'm thinking about all the sucky food I ate and how disappointed I am with myself and my impending doom once I fail all of my classes for the semester. Ironically, the only class I know I'm doing well in is cooking because I did all the assignments and I've showed up for all the classes.
...Oh. The wine list. The "restaurant" I made up is a dessert bar/bakery called Pudding (surely you're not surprised by my choice of cuisine). After much thinking, I decided that the design of the restaurant is kind of mediterranean (whatever the hell that means) and Japanese (...I don't have to actually provide a visual for the interior, thank god). The desserts are mainly homey American stuff, like cupcakes, pies, tarts, and cookies (well, the menu is seasonal so the one I wrote has things with apple and pumpkin), plus chocolates. Everything's pretty reasonably priced, nothing to break the bank. And...there's a wine list! Obviously, this place would never exist. So here's my list; it probably doesn't make much sense. If you know anything about wine, feel free to chime in. Despite taking a class on it, I know almost nothing besides what phylloxera is.
THE HORRIFYING WINE LIST OF HORROR (unfinished, in messy note form, after hours of pointless research)
White Dessert Wine
Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling 2003
- flavors: dried apricot, tangerine, orange peel, vanilla, raisin, and powdered sugar
- goes with: apple, pear
Quady Essensia Orange Muscat 2004
- flavors: orange, apricot, nuts
- goes with: creamy desserts, chocolate, nuts
Lamoreaux Vidal Ice Wine 2002
- flavors: pineapple, pear
- goes with: apple, pear, pumpkin
Peter Lehmann Noble/Botrytis Semillon 2002
- flavors: honey, apricot, citrus
- goes with: custard, creamy desserts, apple, pear, pudding, cake
Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere 2004
- flavors: honey, butterscotch, peaches, pear, pineapple, spices
- goes with: pumpkin, apple, pear
Red Dessert Wine
Mas Amiel Maury 2002
- flavors: red fruits, cherries, a little tannic
- goes with: chocolate
Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV
- flavors: honey, caramel, raisin
- goes with: chocolate
Achaia Clauss Mavrodaphne NV
- flavors: toffee, nuts, raisin, cherry, caramel
- goes with: dark chocolate, nuts
Silvan Ridge Early Muscat Semi-Sparkling 2004
- flavors: peach, orange, melon, floral
- goes with: fruit
Cockburn's Fine Tawny Port
- flavors: nut, butterscotch
- goes with: creamy desserts, cheesecake, custard, nuts
Broadbent Five Year Reserve Madeira
- flavors: nut, caramel, toffee
- goes with: pumpkin, apple, nut
Alvear's Cream Montilla (Sherry)
- flavors: caramel, honey, pecan, walnut, maple syrup
- goes with: custard, nut