My kind of sushi, at last!

My family love sushi, but I am unenamored by the stuff. I will eat most things and, although have never had the opportunity to try the infamous delicacy of lutefisk, I have consumed grubs, insects, cacti, and many other items that many may consider “off the wall.”

However, sushi and I have never clicked. I just don’t see the fascination in tiny pieces of raw fish wrapped, however beautifully, in sticky rice, even when presented on a conveyor belt. It’s not only the texture but probably the fact that I studied parasitology that also puts me off – a pathological fear of raw meat, perhaps? So, for me it’s usually the teriyaki chicken option whenever I begrudgingly go a Japanese restaurant. Add to this the weird obsession that Americans have with insisting on using chopsticks (which I can use), and I find the whole experience unsatisfying. This latter characteristic always amuses me. When we eat my favorite cuisine, Indian, no one seems to want to use their right hand only and no cutlery to be more authentic so why would we insist on using a couple of wooden sticks for Japanese or Chinese food when we have forks available?

Anyhow, I digress. Today my daughter was attending a friend’s birthday party and decided she wanted to take along some fruit sushi as her contribution to the international food theme. I helped a little bit in preparing the sweet sticky rice by simmering it with sugar and coconut milk, and then let her loose with the creativity.

It didn’t actually take her long to create some great sushi with mango, pineapple, kiwi, peach, strawberries and blackberries. I was fortunate to be allowed some of the leftovers when she was plating it up and they were delicious!

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Finally, I have discovered some sushi I actually enjoy!

~Richard

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A late blog entry today as I was busy in the garden (or “yard” as my colleagues insist on calling it!). This year I finally got my act together, built up a few more raised beds, filled them with topsoil, compost and a little vermiculite and then, most importantly, added an leaky hose irrigation system.

So far, I am pleased with the results. We are on our third crop of broccoli florets, having realized that just removing them causes the plants to produce more; our potatoes, squash and cabbages are doing well; and our tomatoes are starting to plump out. The fruit on the raspberry canes and blackberry bushes we planted two years ago are starting to ripen and even the asparagus bed has taken off, although that will be a long term project! The only thing that has been a disappointment is our strawberries, which we cannot seem to get to thrive 😦

I am looking forward to getting outside in the cooler morning weather tomorrow to harvest some of this bounty before the temperatures hit the mid 90s °F again (~ 35°C) but I did manage to wander the estate (!) and get some pictures to remind me how fortunate we have been.

~Richard

 

Wake Up and Taste the Food

Today I inadvertently left my phone charging at home and didn’t realize it until I was halfway to work. I toyed with the idea of going back to get it but then thought better of it. As one of those people who often complains about modern society’s need to be permanently tethered to the internet (and yes, I do include myself in that statement) I thought I could manage the day without the little box of joy in my pocket for the duration of the workday.

All went well throughout the morning and suddenly I realized the time and had to grab a late lunch before the cafeteria closed its doors. All my usual lunch companions were unavailable so I popped to the cafeteria to fly solo. To be honest, this does seem to happen quite often, and I really should do something about my time management skills. However, as I sat down with my food it was only then that I realized how reliant on my handheld companion I have become – no, not as a phone, but as a source of “amusement” during such solitary periods. It’s not that I was being particularly anti-social; the cafeteria was very sparsely populated at this time and most customers were doing similar to what I had intended, namely browsing the web, anyway.

“OK,” I thought, time for a moment of quiet reflection. It was during this brief interlude that I also made the decision that , for today I must really taste my food. I admit this idea was sparked, in part, by the memory of consuming a few strawberries last night that were some of the most delicious I have eaten in a very long time. So, combined with an attempt to keep to my self-imposed policy of healthy eating (at work, at least) wherein I had made up an eclectic mix of items from the salad bar which included a strawberry and spinach leaf salad, I commenced to consume my carefully collected comestibles.  

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Now, it may seem like a trite thing to say but, in all honesty, I wonder how often we do really taste what we are eating? I can only speak for myself when I say that rarely do I truly appreciate the nuances of flavor and actually savor the subtlety of the food that I eat, although I will hypothesize this also applies to many diners with whom I have shared a restaurant, at least from their outward behavior. Eating slowly and actually trying to appreciate the textures and flavors of each of the components of a forkful of food is quite an eye-opening experience. Or perhaps it would be better to call it a tongue-freshening experience.

The upshot of this exercise was that I partook of a relatively simple meal, in solitude, and actually took my time to truly enjoy it. It’s quite interesting trying to slowly taste each mouthful to the full and, in some ways and interesting, almost meditative activity. I invite you to slow down and try it too!

~Richard

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