Flavour Enhancer 621
Since Mum's ordeal with bowel cancer, I've become understandably thingy about food. Not in any sort of rational or consistent fashion, I'll admit. I'll look at the ingredients list on a packet, and if there are too many numbers or items in there that I don't recognise, I'll put it back on the shelf. (Of course, if I have cravings or am simply not in the mood to fight with the grocery shopping, I'll just not look and willfully indulge in ignorance.)
My latest illogical decision was against MSG.
Now, I have no problem with MSG. No reaction to it at all. I was practically raised on the stuff, and if I stop eating it I'll probably go into some sort of withdrawal. This decision was not based on all the bad hype surrounding it, but rather, the fact that it is commonly listed in ingredients as 'Flavour Enhancer 621'. It's a number, so it has to go.
Unfortunately, once I decided on this, I discovered it's EVERYWHERE.
And by everywhere, I mean, everywhere. How am I going to live without noodles when all sauces and soup bases contain MSG? Augh?
I found some miso soup in the organic shop around the corner that is lacking, thankfully. It's going to be a slow hunt to find more alternate soup bases.
After a successful(ish) writing date yesterday, my fellow tortured artists and I tried out a new feeding hole. I'd noticed "WAFFLES!!!" in huge letters on a window in Melbourne Central earlier in the week. That jedi mind trick clearly works well.
Raganeau Crepes. I don't remember seeing any crepes on the menu, but there were certainly waffles. One of them was soaked in melted butter. Far too much melted butter. To the point where it floated, as butter does, and collected at the top of my skull and gave me a butter headache. A butter hangover, to be precise. I'm surprised it didn't ooze out my tear ducts.
It was a mistake, a glorious mistake. When enough time has passed and I've forgotten what a mistake it was, I'll go make that mistake again.
Dad decided he wanted to go out for dinner. Specifically, to a Japanese restaurant. I told Mum that was not an entirely wise idea. Dad is firmly grounded in the methods of communal Chinese eating: a variety of meat, vegie, soup and tofu dishes in the middle of the table, everyone getting what they want, when they want as the meal progresses. No serving spoons, just double-triple-quadruple dipped chopsticks (this is probably why my immune system is so ridiculously overpowered). And rice. Rice for everyone. Rice without saying. Rice is the foundation upon which all other food rests, it brings meaning to the meal, it doesn't even get mentioned in preparation because rice is rice is assumed is rice.
Japanese cooking can work like that, but generally doesn't. There's a different methodology to the preparation and presentation. While multiple dishes still feature, each person is generally granted their own portion. All meals are insular. There will be no fights for the last piece of chicken.
It doesn't matter how many times Dad encounters this, he is still surprised when the dishes don't come out prepared for sharing, and rice is not automatically served. He does not approve of this, not at all, and then confuses all the serving staff with his attempts to turn a Japanese meal into a Chinese meal featuring Japanese cooking.
In light of all the cultural hooha I've blogged about recently, I feel I should mention this. There are some cultural differences that are irreconcilable. Heh.