Sunday, November 28, 2010

stream of food consciousness

I live with three really wonderful people. I could make a list almost the length of a Dostoyevsky novel about why they are so great, and at the top of the list would be their food. Each one is so different in how they approach food and what they choose to make -- but when one of them is cooking, I try my darndest not to snack and am sure I'll be satisfied at the end of the night. I also hope for leftovers.

I try not to pick favorites. Still, I have them: S. is from south India and makes amazingly spicy curries and dahl that leave my lips a little tingley -- just the way I like them. None of her recipes are on paper, so it's my goal while I'm still living with her to get them down, or at least to learn the technique and spice blends. So I linger in the kitchen when she's cooking. Last night while making dahl she lamented that she never gets it like her mom's. She says her mom says the same thing of her own mother's cooking. Why is it that our mother's dishes are so elusive? My mom makes a killer lasagna. In fact, my first ever "food essay" was about her lasagna -- fourth grade, and I used the thesaurus like it was the best thing since sliced bread. There was also a first novel attempt in the fourth grade, again with gratuitous thesaurus usage, that included the phrase "veritably distressed." But this is about food, not the thesaurus (that love letter might come another day.) Anyway, my mom's lasagna -- always loved it, still do. But for the life of me I've never been able to get it like hers. I figure maybe it's better that way. It's like my roommates' food: It's her territory, it's part of the reason I love her, and it gives me all the more reason to go home.

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