29 October 2010

Food: Highs and Lows

Tuesday was a great day.

It was the day that JIF returned to my life. For those of you who have not been without JIF or who do not love it as much as I do, let me just tell you that while grainy chunks of peanuts in oil may satisfy your hankering for some peanut-flavor, it does not quiet the inner pangs for that comfort food (chosen by all choosey mom's...or mums).

My life has been improved, but the lives of my roommates and friends, people from all nations--Australia, Turkey, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, England, Texas--have been changed.

But for every exhilarating culinary experience (yes, peanut butter is my pinnacle--it is still the simple things), there are some....less exhilarating meals.

1. Eel. I have to admit that if I hadn't known what it was, I would have just thought it was a white fish. I was pleasantly surprised with its flaky texture. I was deterred by the rank fish smell. I don't know if it was marinated in anything, but all you got was 'fish'.

Here's the good news. I had this at a formal hall (multiple courses) which has two inherent benefits. First, my main course wasn't eel, so it's not like I went hungry. And secondly, it was a risk-free-eel-trial. I had already paid for the food and it wasn't like I had a choice between eel and something delicious. I had a choice between trying eel and not trying eel. That's a choice I can make.

2. Pâté (yes, I had to copy that off another page because I couldn't get the appropriate accents here).

According to Wikipedia (the true source of all knowledge), this delicacy is 'a mixture of ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste'. I don't know about you, but I don't really dream about eating my meats as a 'spreadable paste'.

Unfortunately, this particular treat is a popular favorite at Jesus College formal hall. MMM. This last time, the presentation was particularly disturbing.

First course came out and looked charming enough. There was a little espresso cup of 'something', with a few crunchy pieces of bread and some sort of tomato chutney/relish. Fine. I would even go so far as to say that I thought it was cute.

But then you look a little bit closer to your cup and realize that it looks like a solid. You know the custard shops that advertise custard so think that you can tip it upside down quickly and the thickness of the shake (combined with physics) will prevent it from falling out? Well, this takes that to the extreme. You could turn this cup over and leave it upside down for infinity, and it would never fall out.

Now, I have to admit that I couldn't figure out exactly what the solid-waxlike substance was on the top of (what we later determined to be pate). But I can tell you that I am pretty confident what foodgroup a 'solid-waxlike' substance would have to be. And no, it is not a fruit.

So, I broke through the cholesterol-in-a-cup covering to find pate underneath. I tried it (because its formal after all). I am not even sure I tasted it, but conceptually, I just don't approve.

Choosey mums do not choose pate.

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