Wednesday, October 11, 2017

As you grow older, you learn things about yourself. I now know that I will never be tall and thin and that dressing like I am will only make me look ridiculous. I know that no matter how reluctant I am to start exercising, I will get into it after the first ten shitty minutes. I know that I cannot walk too long in high heels without wanting to cut off my toes. And I know that when I start browsing Foodgawker, it's not because I want to find something to cook, it's because I'm hungry and had better fix myself a snack before I get hangry. None of this self-knowledge is of much use: I still buy skirts for amazons, put off working out, wear high heels and limp and am too lazy to leave my desk to get a snack. So I browse through Foodgawker for page after page, looking at gorgeously lit photos of beautiful food. Incidentally, I am so over the word beautiful to describe food and produce. I think chefs on TV shows have used it to death. The word has ceased to have meaning. Octopus tentacles might be delicious, I don't know, but they are not and never will be beautiful. So I'm going to cast about for other adjectives to describe food, as I tell you about all the things I've been snacking on of late.

A took me to a fancypants Italian restaurant, the sort that sold tomato and red pepper broth for 300 rupees and convinced us at the time that 400 was a reasonable price to pay for bits of toast with mayo on them. Still, the one dish we really went for was also the simplest, a bruschetta with finely diced tomatoes and a few slivers of basil. The basil plants at home are getting out of hand and badly need pruning. I did my bit by pinching at them here and there till I had a tidy pile of leaves. I've made bruschetta before, but I think the thing that made this place's the best I'd ever tasted, besides the fact that it compared favourably with toast smeared with mayo, was that the tomato was very finely diced. The toast was dry and rubbed with garlic. Then the tomato was piled on and its juices allowed to seep down. The whole thing was topped with only chiffonaded basil and a glug of olive oil. It was pulchritudinous. My toasts were thinner and lacked structural integrity. I rubbed them too energetically with garlic wearing out holes in their middles. Luckily, my tomatoes were too roughly chopped to fall through the holes, because my knives aren't sharp. The basil tasted nice. I ate three, then went back to Foodgawker, only breaking to snack some more on chocolate.

On the rare days that I do plan ahead, I've been making a salad. Amma's big on saving on food waste, so she collects the rinds of the limes I squeeze and pickles them in salt. I dig these preserved rinds out of their jar and whir them in the blender with mustard, green chillies, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and sugar. The resultant sauce is acid green and tart tasting. It dresses a salad of poorly chopped tomatoes, onions and cucumbers very well. I keep the salad in the fridge and pick at it all day long. It's foxy.

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