Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: What would Tami Taylor do?

So, Tyra's going to University of Texas, Tim and Billy bought a longhorn steer, Coach got fired, Matt did the wrong "right" thing. We're done with the Friday Night Lights dvds as of last night, thank GOD. Dillon, Texas has seemed more vivid to me lately than my own life, which is pathetic, and I have begun using Tami Taylor as a guide for my behavior, which is fine, since she's awesome, but hopeless since she's an extraverted TV character and I'm an introverted human being. Yesterday, I drove six hours and spent most of the time in a reverie about the Panthers, which is just sad. Very good thing it's cold turkey until 2010. 

Up top is an opo squash, bought from the Chinese market. It looks sort of like a pear but tasted vaguely like zucchini and made a pleasant, easy soup when boiled with fish sauce, water, and a tiny amount of pork shoulder. My one complaint is that in her opo squash soup recipe Andrea Nguyen does not call for peeling the squash, as even after extra-long cooking, the skin was too crunchy, like the rind of a gourd. The recipe is here, and I recommend it, though would also recommend peeling the squash.

On the side, I served Nguyen's crispy fried eggplant which was delicious, especially dipped in nuoc cham.

I told the children the fried eggplant was fried potatoes, but in a harried way so I could pretend it was an absent-minded slip, should the fib be detected. No one figured it out, and the kids enthusiastically ate the fried eggplant. This is wrong. Tami Taylor would not tell such a lie.


  1. FNL at least isn't an embarrassing place to be living your mental life. I'm sorry to say I am currently caught in Forks, WA in the Twilight series. I read the first to see what my nieces were ga-ga about and got hooked. Whoops.

  2. No, no, this is simply what we're driven to when faced with others' unreasonable food prejudices. I've learned that naming is very important if you want persnickety people to actually try what you've made. Although it doesn't always work. Just last week I presented my husband with a lovely slice of crustless vegetable tart. He stared at it for a moment and then said, "This is quiche, isn't it?" Oops, can't win 'em all.

  3. MemeGRL -- you don't think Dillon, Texas is slightly embarrassing? I know lots of respectable and intelligent people who got sucked into Twilight, though it wasn't my drug of choice. But where does choice come into these things?

    Sobaka -- My grandmother got me to eat tomato soup as a child by calling it "strawberry soup" and chickpeas by calling them "Russian rice." I guess it's dishonest, but I do come by it honestly. Did your husband go on to try the quiche?

  4. You want to hear embarrassing? How about Sunnydale, CA?

  5. Does it mean something that Buffy, Twilight, and FNL are all about high school? I never got this hung up on The Sopranos, Mad Men, The Wire. Not even Deadwood or The Office. On the other hand, totally fixated on My So-Called Life.

  6. Totally unrealistic high school shows are a fave of mine, too. But at least FNL has some adult stories and a pretty realistic marriage.

  7. I love your harried delivery of the food fib...I do exactly the same thing. Has been successful with baked sweet potatoes (french fries!) and a few other things, but I'm afraid he's suspicious enough to find me out.

    i just finished Farm City. i should be writing a review of an awful movie, but i figured that could wait until midnight, when I'm really at the top of my game. i'll lend it to you. lots of bee and chicken talk...

  8. Yes, husband did eat the quiche. He's better about things like that than he used to be!

    My grandmother got me to eat squirrel and rabbit by calling it chicken. Venison was known as beef. (Grandpa was an avid hunter.)

    On the other hand, as a toddler I refused to eat a pasta shell/mushroom dish after my mother told me that the mushrooms were "the little animals that lived in the shells." What was she thinking??