Sunday, September 20, 2015

Food and our Utensils

Monday's appetizer.....fingers were the utensil.
Recently, Zorig asked me why I used a fork as my primary eating utensil. He followed this question with a comment that a spoon is more useful--easier to get more food onto it and into your mouth. The initial question caused me to stop and ponder. Why do I prefer a fork? Other than soup which requires a spoon, my go-to utensil IS a fork. This led to some random observations and/or connections. 

Zorig comments on my long nose and it's angles. A fork is long and pointy. I am attracted to Zorig's big cheeks. They are big and round. Like a spoon. So much lovely surface to kiss! :) I don't have a definitive answer other than that in Asia soup is a staple and therefore a spoon is a necessity. Also, meals here are often preceded by both a salad AND a soup. In the U.S., soup is a winter-time thing and meals are preceded more often by salad than soup.  Salad requires a fork. (Interesting to note that we've shortened the eating cycle by doing soup OR salad in the U.S.)

I hope to not wear out this topic of food; however, it is the largest difference in my day to day life. It's LOVELY to be in a relationship where both partners cook for and care for the other. Two nights a week I take Mongolian language lessons for an hour and a half (a future blog post on this topic--I promise). This means I don't get home until after 7 PM. Zorig takes note of this late arrival and has prepared meals for me, two of which I've shared with you here. The first is of braised pork ribs over sautéed cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. The other is oven baked chicken...with a crisp skin and tender, juicy meat inside. He is far too humble and thinks nothing of his cooking and grilling skills. I think he is a master chef and feel so fortunate to have a partner that is mindful of what I like (meat and veggies) and of my schedule and hours. Of course, this makes me want to reciprocate. I too cook, but my food never looks as beautiful as his! Not picture worthy. All in all, the best thing is sharing a home and kitchen with a true partner. We both cook. We both clean. We delight in sharing the work--which makes it no work at all in the end. This is how we care for one another. One way in which we love.....

Cafeteria and three sample meals.
When I was in the U.S., I either packed my lunch (while in public school) or enjoyed the dining hall offerings (while at FVS). Since I have a public transit commute, I don't want to mess with the carting of food to and from work. I have opted to eat lunch in our cafeteria four days a week; and on Friday's we order out from a local deli. This is a new tradition and it encourages the teachers to have lunch together in our lounge. The cafeteria food is pretty good and costs me just $2.25/day. It's a mix of Mongolian style food (bottom left hand picture is buuz, steamed meat dumplings and traditional soup and slaw style salad) and western type foods (top right hand picture's spaghetti). Most meals include a soup or porridge (bottom right hand picture has a grits like cereal that was YUMMY!), a veggie (yes, seaweed paper counts as a veggie), and then a starch and some meat. Often some sort of bread and a juice, milk, or tea. 

I miss ROMAINE lettuce! I haven't seen it since I arrived in early July. And my attempts at home to make salads have been not so effective. SO...on Friday's I opt for the large salad with egg and a grilled chicken breast. This costs me $5.02. This means my lunches cost me less than $15/week AND I don't have to prep or clean up. All in all, it seems like the smart way to go. 

Lastly, a word on bacon. I MISS crispy, thick-cut bacon. Diner bacon. But with the recent arrival of my cooling racks (thanks to my cousin for shipping my first box of "I-can't-find-it-here" stuff)--I can now bake bacon how I was used to doing it in the U.S. 

The bacon I purchase is smoked Hungarian bacon and each package is about $2-3. Quite tasty, though a little on the thin size (upside--requires less cooking time). But I'll take what I can get!!! Bacon is bacon after all....and not much beats that salty, savory flavor. I try to always have a package in the fridge along with a 10-pack of eggs. Those foods are easily whipped into a meal of some sort with the veggies on hand--omelet, soup, or even a crustless frittata. 

p.s. To those friends that commented that I'd miss Mexican food the most: perhaps not the most missed thing, but YES, I miss spicy and flavorful food. I miss jalapeños and pinto beans....and burritos that beg for sour cream. When I come home for Christmas in 2016 you can bet that MEXICAN will be on the to-do list. More than once. 

1 comment:

  1. It is strange to think that you will be home for Christmas in 2016 and that that won't be here in Colorado. I got a bit behind with your blog. So, I decided to read them from the most recent backwards. :)