Thursday, November 8, 2007

We Go to Dinner with the Ingredients We Have, Not the Ingredients We Want

The local Asian market is more like a Korean market than a Filipino market. This would not matter so much if I was looking for, say, rice, or fish sauce. But I was looking for lumpia wrappers. This, they did not have. They did, however, have egg roll wrappers. It's not the same, but the only real Filipino market is an hour away, so it would have to do.

I made some filling - ground beef with onions, garlic, corn - but lacking some of the usual vegetables that normally go in, such as green beans, I went with what I had in the freezer: frozen chopped spinach. I don't ever remember having spinach in lumpia. Conceptually, I told myself it was no different from green beans, but I felt a little bad doing it.

I feared I was straying too far from the essence of Lumpia.

I wrapped and I fried, and I ended up with this:
This was not lumpia.

Not because of the spinach, which was fine and actually kind of good, but because of the wrapper. Lumpia wrappers are thin, fragile sheets of rice flour mixed with water. Egg roll wrappers are thicker, rubbery sheets of dough - flour, water, and eggs. Lumpia wrappers fry up crispy, flaky, delicious. Egg rolls wrappers fry up puffy and heavy and a more doughy inner side.

And this is why lumpia wrappers are far superior than egg rolls wrappers - lumpia does not end up looking like it has boils.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Special Level

Being a good Catholic girl, I lit a devotional candle and prayed to all the saints that comment spammers burn in a special level of Hell, where they must eat okra dipped in Marmite. Or chicken, just undercooked enough that it looks cooked but is actually still raw enough to be all rubbery and salmonella'd. Or cereal with those artificially colored, dried up marshmallows. Or all three together in a Velveeta-laced casserole. With one of those flimsy plastic sporks that neither spoons nor forks with any efficiency.

Using food as punishment often means denying food, but I think one could get a lot more creative with it, don't you?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Halloween, one of the best holidays in the year, when we go through the time-honored tradition of choosing trick-or-treat candies. It's a big decision. We never, ever eat candy. This is the one time of year that we eat any, so we choose that candy with care.

Trick or treaters were allowed to choose two out of a giant candy bowl (even the kid who dressed as a Yankee, who was lucky I let him have anything). This year, our offerings to the children of our community included:
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: Foodgoat fave, and always rank high on the kiddies. Foodgoat prefers the regular size Reese's cups over the smaller sizes (due to the higher peanut butter to chocolate coating ratio).
  • Snicker's: Is the Fun Size getting smaller? Because it doesn't seem as fun as it used to. But still good to Foodgoat. Not for nothing is Snickers the best selling candy bar of all time.
  • Twix: Did you know that Twix was called "Raider" in Germany for years? And that the change to "Twix" in 1991 went so badly it became a metaphor for botched attempts to make something look more modern by rebranding it with a new name? I didn't either. It's one of those things that's on Wikipidia, but I don't really believe.
  • Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fishes: The surprise hit of the night - lots more kids wanted the sour chewy candies and the gummi fishes than we would have thought. The Sour Patch Kids were originally called Mars Men and shaped like aliens. The Swedish fishes are now actually made in Canada and are actually vegan, but you wouldn't know it, because they do taste pretty good.
The best part? Lots of leftover candy, just for us.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Not the One

We have been an exclusively Granny Smith household. Then the other day I had an apple that was not a Granny Smith. To my surprise, I found that it was good - it was crisp and not too sweet and quite eatable. Could it be that there are other apple types that are lunch-worthy? The only other apple cultivar that I am familiar with are Red Delicious, or as I like to call them, Red Not So Delicious.

Unfortunately, I had no idea what cultivar this good one was. But it's autumn, and there is a dizzying array of apple varieties available, so I tried another apple.

Alas, McIntosh apples were not what I was looking for. Traditionally the most popular cultivar in New England, I thought that McIntoshs had a reputation as a good eating apple, but if they do, I don't agree. They're not good for eating. They're a little too mushy. But they did turn out very nicely for my apple pie, baking into succulent, sweet little pieces. And hot, cinnamon-sprinkled mushiness on top of a flaky crust is much preferable to the cold, plain mushiness at the bottom of the lunch bag.