Thursday, May 29, 2014

Discoveries Close to Home

Today was, in all likelihood, the last day of Fiddle Club down at Mighty Clever Guy Middle School.  The year is winding down, the concert happened last week, and at this point they’re just playing out the string.

Or, in this case, strings.

Lauren loves Fiddle Club days, because those are the days we head out to get snacks while we wait for Tabitha to be done fiddling around with her friends.  These days I mostly just watch the snacking, but it’s still a nice tradition really.  I’m going to miss it next year.

Today we had a different mission, though.  When I made up this week’s dinner menu I decided that homemade egg rolls would be one night’s fare.  We found a recipe for them somewhere years ago and while they do a very effective job of using every pot, bowl, and utensil in the kitchen, they also are quite tasty and provide endless leftovers.   Our local grocery carries only wheat-based egg-roll wrappers, however, and this is no longer really an option for Kim.

Not that I remembered this at the time, says the man with two packages of wheat-based egg-roll wrappers taking up space in the fridge right now.  It’s tricky, sometimes, remembering who can’t eat what.  Fortunately this is one of those problems that can indeed be solved by throwing money at it – and not much money at that.  Somewhere, there must be rice-based egg-roll wrappers.  They simply need to be located, purchased, and brought back home.

It’s like the old caveman days, only more artisanal.  Need wrappers!  Find wrappers!  Slay wrappers!  Bring home for feast!  URGH!

So while Fiddle Club raged on, Lauren and I ventured into the Asian market here in Our Little Town in search of rice-based egg-roll wrappers.

We actually have an Asian market here these days.  I’d never set foot in it before today, but I liked the fact that it was there and making the place a bit more diverse than it used to be.  Our Little Town is not much of a hotbed for diversity.  It’s better than it was when I moved in, but this remains a town where a brown-eyed man could wreak havoc on the gene pool in many ways.  So having this store always made me feel like we were moving in a congenial direction here, culturally, even if I never could quite manage to stop in as I drove on by.

Why on earth have I not been shopping in this place?

So many fun things!

Granted, many of them were things that I would not eat under duress.  The bags of deep-fried sesame-coated anchovies, for example, struck me as something best left for other people in other time zones, and the multitudinous forms of durian (fresh, frozen, preserved, and – most intriguingly, in the liberal arts sense of the term, the way you can be fascinated by something without really having any interest in letting it get within hailing distance – candied) just left me with a deep appreciation for how easily led astray the human mind can get when confronted by something that is only edible by the rather generous standard of not being immediately lethal.

Yes, I know.  I’ve actually had durian before.  It’s not bad if you can get past the smell.  Next time you have a bad head cold, you should try some.

On the plus side, though, there were about a hundred different kinds of tea.  Thirty kinds of hot sauce.  More noodles made from more different kinds of grain than you’d have thought existed in the multiverse.  Crackers of myriad shapes, sizes, and flavorings including some that became more intriguing – in that same liberal arts sense – the more I thought about them.  Cookies in alternate flavors and wrappings.

They even had those weird Japanese sodas that come in the glass bottles with the little glass marble on top that you have to punch down with the special implement included free with your purchase.  Leave it to the Japanese to turn food packaging into a contest of strength.

It’s tasty soda, though.

My big find was a kind of canned chai tea that was made in Thailand and available for a very reasonable cost – a Thai chai buy – that was absolutely delicious despite its vibrant rust-orange color.  Apparently they sell it by the case.  This is a very dangerous thing for me to know.

Lauren and I ended up getting our snacks there at the store - some oddly shaped cookies and a bag of thin coconut-flavored crackers that looked like they might be fun.  We never did find any rice-based egg-roll wrappers, though.  All of the ones there were wheat-based.  We’ll have to forage elsewhere for our desired wrappers.



John the Scientist said...

But did they have stinky tofu in a jar, or am I going to have to send you some of "that".

And the *honey* and sesame coated anchovies are, well, ...



Well. They are well.

I'm going to say the same thing to you I said to my daughter when we tried the dried, DDT coated flat squid:

"I'm not going to lie to you. They are horrible.

Try it."

She did and wound up liking it. So try it, you might like it, Mikey. Just 'cause *I* won't eat it doesn't mean it isn't worth trying.

David said...

John, I don't like seafood under any circumstances - dried, fried and lacquered with foreign substances is not even on my "try it, it might not be as life-alteringly horrible as you know it will be" list.

And if you send me stinky tofu, I will call the fire department and have it disposed of by hazmat professionals. ;)

John the Scientist said...

Don't. Like. Seafood.


I thought you had Italian blood? o.O

David said...

Yeah, I was always hungry on Christmas Eve, what can I say?