Friday, January 12, 2007
Food For Thought
The guy who invented Ramen noodles is dead. I confess to consuming that stuff in my graduate student adjuncting days. At twenty cents a cup and with only hot water to add and three minutes to wait, it was seductive. Not exactly a substitute for my mother's cooking, but a notch above starvation. The fact it was warm was a definite plus, helping create the illusion of "home" in a desperate kind of way. Who cares about the taste?
Then one day, with my head buried in some sadistically incomprehensible Homi Bhabha essay for my theory class, I went on to eat the Styrofoam cup after finishing the liquid inside it. It tasted like Chinese fortune cookies stuffed with tofu. The fact that it didn't taste that bad sent me in a panic. I mean, what's next, student papers?
That's when I quit the Ramen-Bhabha habit and learned to cook.
The first dish I ever made was Mjaddara. As far as I'm concerned, it's the Palestinian national dish. Lentils, rice, cumin, a ton of onions (less than ten is Lebanese, and less than five is criminal) fried in olive oil to a crisp or until you can't stand anymore. It goes well with any Edward Said, but is absolutely delicious with his After the Last Sky. Now, I'm perfecting my fool recipe. Finding the read to go with it is proving challenging; fool, as we all know, has a reputation as anti-intellectual. But perhaps some Fanon would work? Something like Wretched of the Earth or A Dying Colonialism? Suggestions are always welcome.
However, I got the music to go with my fool: Sheikh Imam, the Pete Seeger of the Arab world and the coolest Sheikh on the planet (Are you reading Imam Hilali?). You can listen below; sorry it's not clear, but, hey, we're talking Ramen soup and fool. I'll get you the Palestinian youth orchestra for another dish.
powered by ODEO