Sunday, March 04, 2007

Some meaty issues

Being a vegetarian some questions that I constantly encounter are
"Being a mallu how come you are a vegetarian?"
"How do you manage to survive in different places since you travel a lot"

For the first question the only answer is that it's a matter of choice. Second question probably deserves a little more explanation. The longest I have stayed away from home was in Munich, Germany. I somehow managed breakfast and dinner without much trouble(read as survived on cornflakes/fruits/bread/chocolates/nuts or even cooked if I got some good company). However, for lunch, my only option was company canteen. Every time when it was time for lunch, I used to have a funny feeling, similar to the anxiety you feel during exam days - "what's in store? " or "what's my fate today". Anyway I used to gather all my courage n march to the canteen, enter and stare at the menu:

It would read something like this:


Wurst Salad
Schnitzel Holstein
Schweinsmedallions mit Sommermajoran

And the feeling that I would get was, "WOW looks really good. Nice rhyming words!!" How am I supposed to select from this?? The only way out used to be to go by "looks". (If some of you are wondering why couldn't I ask the people serving there, the problem was they spoke only German and my German was too pathetic. Many a times I had attempted, but it confused both the parties. Sometimes, some counterparts would be kind enough to tell me what it contained or what I should avoid. But mostly I had to manage myself). 

Anyway, coming back to choosing 'food' - I couldn't pick any spicy/complicated looking stuff. So, a safe option used to be Potatoes, potatoes n more potatoes (in all forms - fried , deep fried, boiled , steamed , raw , mashed, salted ). Otherwise, a little bit of vegetables which had a natural look (mostly just boiled) or a piece of bread. And then the most delicious part - the desserts. The dessert collection was really impressive and me being a sweet lover used to indulge royally. But even that wasn't really safe as some of them contained alcohol! Luckily I always managed to take the sweet ones ;) (This also explains why I blow up, unlike others who shrink after an abroad trip)

But while travelling around, finding a suitable place to eat out used to be a problem.. Within Germany I could manage somehow since I could ask for "Pommes frites" , "Gemüse Burger" or "vegetarisch Pizza". But in non-German speaking areas, it used to be a "probleme". So, in some places we carried our own food. But again, that was not a pleasant option. I remember how we carried lots of bun n fruits to Sicily(Italy) for all the meals and by the fourth day we were feeling sick even at the sight of it. We were longing to get back to Rome to eat something spicy

But yeh not everything has gone smoothly.. I have had my share of bloopers as well. Once I was picking up chocolates for home. And there I saw these nice looking red and black chocolate bars and in went some 10-20 of them. Actually that was expensive as well but I thought it will be some exotic ones(It was). Once I reached back home I tried one and eek it was bitter n had some funny filling too!!! (Can u guess what it was??). All of them promptly found their way to the waste basket :(

Another incident happened in Paris. Since it's a famous tourist spot, we were so confident that we would be able to find McDonalds or at least some English speaking people. So didn't take any precautions(read as didn't carry any food). Alas we couldn't find either. We were at Notre Dame and too hungry. A survey of the place revealed that almost all shops sold something called a Crepe(A famous French dish. can be considered as a variety of Indian Dosa) in different flavors, but they all contained egg. Somehow that trip was too tiring and JK was not keen on exploring for an alternative. His argument was that since I eat cakes n ice creams that contain egg, I could have this as well.

Next one was in the UK. When I landed there I felt really odd. Suddenly I could understand the language and even read the sign boards around me!!! Yeh everything was in English and I knew that language!!!! May be with that confidence, I went and ordered a veg burger combo in McDonalds. They promptly handed over the bag too. As usual I finished off the French fries and started to attack the burgers. One bite, and hey, something was fishy (or meaty).. I took a closer look. The stuffing inside was a white single piece thingy, deep fried, like a hard dried log. Anyway since I was too hungry I didn't bother to question them(and I'm not sure whether it would have made any impacts too) and so removed the filling and ate the bun.(Reason : Fish is considered vegetarian in many places)

And yet another similar incident happened in Leh. During our trip, we were so used to eating momos and so when we stopped at a daba, P went and ordered a plate of momos. He didn't specify what kind, since by default, they used to give us the veg ones. One bite and Pint realised it was pork. Luckily due to my eating style, I hadn't reached the filling..

May be I'll conclude my post with a cooking blooper. This happened some years ago. 4 of us were staying together, out of which me and another girl were vegetarians. We never used to cook non-veg, and rarely if we cooked egg, it was always the other two who managed it. Then, my other veggie friend got a long term onsite assignment and she decided to convert to non-veg. As a first step, she decided to make egg. Unfortunately, that day the other two non-veg friends had gone out and we both clueless females were trying to make an Omelet. Both of us had only seen the cooked form but had no clue how to make it. We knew what all goes in it, but the big question was whether to deep fry, shallow fry or make it like a dosa!!!! Finally we decided to make it shallow fry (Our theory was it looks oily so there should be a little more oil than dosa kinds). And you can imagine how it would have turned out to be !!! When our other roomies returned they were shocked to see our experiment results. They just couldn't imagine how we managed to spoil a simple omelet like this !!!


Krishna said...

I like your omlette story ;) you know what, even now when you cook I wonder what is that going to be at the end ;))) But yes, honestly I miss those days you invite us to test your culinary skills - it's like going out , say for a bungee jump. You never know whether you'll finish it safely - but that is the exiting part of it ;))

Dhanya said...

KK, That was really rude.. :(((
How many times I have served u ppl n this is what I get... hmmm whattodo this is a thankless world.. ;)

Unknown said...

KK... I read your Bungee Jump feeling. I differ in my experience. For me, it used to be the "Thorn and Leaf" like experience, where I am the Leaf. Hope you got the punch line. Ha ha ha ha.. That was on a lighter part. But I really appreciate her willingness to cook a freshly slaughtered bleeding Kozhi (chicken) for all of us, even though she hates the smell, taste and look of a kozhi without feathers and skin on it :) Three cheers for this scientific cook and Yes, I don’t mind one cheer for this assistant too :)

Dhanya said...

Kuttettaaaaaaa u too Brutus :(((((

Anonymous said...

we will eat and then give comments (TBD)

Anonymous said...

very rarely i see people who can cook a 'kozhi' but cant eat an omlette :)

me being a very pure nonvegetarian keeps wondering what will happen if one of the veggies end up taking a bite of chicken :) is it that bad if u eat it by mistake???

Dhanya said...

@ geetha : I stopped feeding thankless people :P

@ sandeep : It's easy to cook a 'kozhi' n not eat it.. You can experiment anything n everything you can think of :D
Think it depends on person to person. For me, I don't eat coz I don't like it. So it's just an unpleasant feeling like having a bad medicine ;) But for people who don't eat for religious reasons I have no clue..