Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Bombay Kitchen: My, I've been busy

It is a strange moment to be starting a food blog.

Last night, I made Niloufer Ichaporia King's deep-fried Fish balls (this is her title for the dish; I'd rename them "fritters" asap) plus Everyday dal (four stars!) and an incendiary, minty Cabbage and lime salad. Loved the combination of refreshing cabbage, rich dal, and crusty little fritters. Love Parsi food generally. Love My Bombay Kitchen specifically. Love, love, love!

Don't love Whole Foods, where I have been spending all my money lately. I know Michael Pollan says we should pay more for our groceries if we want to be healthy, noble, right-thinking human beings but maybe . . . maybe I don't?

It just galls me to shell out $4.72 for a little bag of limes, even if they are organic.

The only thing I miss about living in San Francisco are the Chinese markets, especially the Sunset Super, where, no matter how much bok choy and fermented tofu I loaded into the shopping cart, the total at checkout never added up to more than $25. It was both mystery and miracle.

Of course, none of the food was organic or heirloom or seasonal or local, and some of it probably came from a Chengdu strychnine factory. But I loved the weird pig parts, the aisles upon aisles of soybean-based condiments, the fifty kinds of rice noodles, rock sugars, and won ton wrappers. The doomed live fish, the unsettling geoduck clams, the pink spot prawns dancing around in the tank.

The world seems very big and strange and exciting in a Chinese market.

At Whole Foods, the world seems very tiny and white and nervous.

Back to last night's dinner. Dessert was Tangerine water ice and Crisp cashew wafers. After awkwardly posing for a photograph with my exquisite creation, Isabel (above) and Juliet politely declined to try any, then disappeared. Odd. These ladies usually love a dessert.

I went upstairs, where they were watching Men in Black. They had filled this big cereal bowl with Coke Bottles, Junior Mints, Gummi Bears and Reese's Pieces, the most revolting mix of candies I have ever encountered, and they were blindly and lustily scooping it into their mouths.

Let's review: While I was searching my soul and buying fancy organic limes, they were at Walgreens pooling their resources and planning a party.


  1. Hi. Just discovered this blog. I'ts great! I wanna run out and get that book and try some of the recipes. I'm a little fearful I won't be able to find the right ingredients out here in bumf---, however. Your kids are ingrates -- Gummi bears instead of tangerine ice. The gall. The dal.

    -- Sandy, Dubuque

  2. Great column on all fronts. Love, love, love your description of the food---I could almost taste it. And yes, fritters sound a LOT better.

    The photos add a flavor to the blog recipe: hits of humor, bits of whimsy, a pinch of human interest, and a sprinkling of visual end product.

    After all, this is about the reader enjoying vicariously, not actually trying to cook, isn't it?


  3. Oh i know exactly what you mean about chinese markets! I'm never happier than when i am shopping at one of those, so many exotic things, all so inexpensive. and whole foods, same feeling you describe. just an hour ago i went to trader joe's (which i love too, so cheap & cheerful like the chinese stores, though the chinese stores make me want to cook and trader joe's just makes me want to eat tasty ready-made things). Anyways, we had to go to whole foods for a few more ingredients right afterwards and i commented to my husband how much more uptight the shoppers were than the shoppers at trader joe's- miffed expressions about cart maneuverings. it brought me down from my TJ high. AND, 2 bags of groceries there cost MORE than 8 bags at TJs.

  4. Yum, tangerine ice! Sounds good! If Isabel refused the ice then why was she holding it? Candy is good too though not quite as good.

  5. Mom we were not watching Men In Black. We were watching My Girl. Second of all we weren't shoveling it into our mouths. We were eating one at a time! Also I did have a bowl of tangerine ice. Juliet was the one who didn't want to have it.

  6. Dear Thanksalot,
    If you ever, EVER, contradict me in public again I will send you to dinner without any eggplant stew.
    Do you hear me?

  7. yo dude! I'm like drunk dude! Totally tipsy yi!rl,kg (O{P

  8. Gooey Ducks grow to about two pounds in four or five years.

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