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My first REAL tag & meme! FOOOD!!

Whoohoo, bring out the booze! I actually got tagged with this meme about 5 childhood memories of foods... kinda challenging, I must not have had much association with foods when young (btw, till what age is “childhood”?), but I will try... so here goes...

1. Rarebits
Yes, rarebits (not rabbits): take a slice of bread, put a slice of fake cheese* on it, and put it in (under?) the grill, where you’ll get the cheese all bubbly and the bread toasted, both at the same time.

I remember my father going on an on about these rarebits, I think he musta really liked them back when he was in England or something. Or maybe he was Tom Sawyering us kids into preparing it? Well, it was a really easy-to-prepare snack, and we’d usually have it as part of a light dinner on some Sundays.

I can picture the kitchen at the Jalan Ampang house, and the electric stovetop-cum-grill-cum-oven in the corner, where we’d make this “delicacy”.

My age? My tweens and early teens, I guess…

Btw, later, I found out that this was very different from a Welsh rarebit, which is deepfried or something – ugh! Even later, found out that the Americans would call this an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.

* fake cheese : what I call those pre-sliced majorly-processed Kraft singles or equivalent. It’s been forever since I’ve tasted that crap: I insist on REAL cheese.

2. Half-boiled eggs
Put raw eggs, in their shells, into boiling water; take out after three minutes.

This makes normal half-boiled eggs, nothing special right?

But then you put them into the egg-holder.

Crack the top of the egg, take off the shell up there so you have a hole large enough for a small spoon to fit through.

Put in a glob of butter.

Stir it all together.

Consume.

Mmmmmmm.

We’d have this for “high tea” on Sundays, or for that light dinner.

I always looked forward to when we’d have the eggs in this manner… I suppose I always liked runny yolks :-) Can picture myself sitting at that round table in the dining room of the Jalan Ampang house with the egg in front of me. Mmmmmmmm!

Anyways, later in life, I found out that that is NOT how Malaysians (or Malays, anyway) consume their half-boiled eggs. (In fact, there were so many things I was raised doing or observing in my immediate family which I then found out were not at all how Malaysians do things… and me, the half-breed who didn’t belong anywhere felt even MORE out of place at these times… but that’s a totally different story for another time…)

So how do Malays take their half-boiled eggs?
First, they’d break the eggs into a bowl,
Then add in soy sauce and pepper, (ugh!!)
Finally they’d put the bowl to their mouth and drink it down! (double ugh!!)

What for add soy sauce and pepper, I ask you. I find the yolk flavourful enough as it is, and I actually don’t like how soy sauce changes the taste.

I’m thinking no wonder many people think I’m crazy when I say I like runny yolks: if I’d been forced to consume eggs by “drinking” them, having the semi-raw egg slide down my throat all at once, ugh, I probably would not be such a fan of half-boiled eggs and/or runny yolks.

3. chili padi / chili api
For those who don’t know, the “chili” comes in many shapes and sizes. There’s the very tame capsicum (red / green peppers), there’s the jalapeno peppers, and there’s also the chili that I’m familiar with in Malaysia.

The most potent of them all is a teeny chili less than an inch long, called chili api (“fire” chili) or chili padi (“paddy” chili, an indication of its size like a grain of rice, exaggerated lah).

For the longest time, I’d obey instructions to not eat hot spicy foods. In fact, only my father was served his belacan (a hot chili paste) during meals; it was just understood that us kids couldn’t take such hot foods.

One evening, there was a dish prepared using these tiny chilis, and us kids were instructed to not touch them. I was sorely tempted to try, though, probably just to show that I didn’t want my parents to simply assume they knew I couldn’t handle it.

So I took one chili, brandished it for all to see, and popped it in my mouth, and immediately chewed on it.

My mouth burst into flames! Or felt like it, anyway!

Even better: in my rush to get to the bottle of water, I knocked it over instead!

So much for my tolerance, LOL! My pride was severely bruised that night :p

But that was my first real step towards eating hot and spicy foods. Today, I beat so many true-blooded Malays when consuming “pedas” dishes.

Not that I don’t experience a burning mouth anymore… but now, such discomfort is part of the fun. To find me wiping tears away while eating a spicy dish is a rarity, and if it happens I am SO happy to have found a dish that can challenge my taste buds!

Yes, me = weirdo :-)

4. School canteen food
Ah yes, the oh-so-nutritious food available at the school canteen… When I was in primary school, my allowance was something like 20 sen a day, so it’s not like I could buy much except junk food:
  • The green&yellow Twisties (chicken flavour?) was my favourite.
  • Cheezels too, but only to emulate the advertisements for this product: put one thru every finger then eat them off one by one.
  • And I know I used to drink Kickapoo Joy Juice too, and was surprised to find out later that this was actually the name of one of the Native American tribes!! I’m amazed at the political incorrectness of it, and I wonder if the drink exists anymore in Malaysia…
To be fair, the canteen wasn’t all that bad lah… it got upgraded, and there was an effort by the school (maybe due to a directive from the Education / Health ministries?) to ensure more nutritious food was available. So in addition to the usual junk, we then had fresh fruit & juices, nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, and even a mamak selling roti canai! Of course, this was by the time I was in secondary school.

The school is now closed, but that canteen has been transformed to a mamak restaurant. So you have office workers in their power suits and dresses sitting on benches like they were in school again. A funny sight, I’ve been told.

5. Raclette
A nod to my Swiss heritage… raclette is a cold-weather meal involving grilled cheese. Nowadays, there are these raclette gadgets where there are these little pans to put in your thick slice of raclette cheese, then you place it under the little grill, and once the cheese is melted and bubbly you scoop in onto your plate and eat it with potatoes, onions, and I dunno what else.

I’ve always liked this dish, and have actually had it more often in KL than I have in Switzerland. Something about cheesy gooey bubbly melty cheese just does it for me!

I had the opportunity once to experience the old way of eating raclette:

The cheese is usually one large round thing about 2 –3 inches thick: So it is cut in half. Then the exposed part of the cheese is subject to heat, until the top part of the cheese starts to bubble and melt. This is then scooped onto a plate to be consumed; then the cheese is exposed to the heat again, wait until it melts, scoop onto the next plate, heat, melt, scoop; heat, melt, scoop; heat, melt, scoop.

So in this “traditional” set-up, one or two poor fellows are in charge of the cheese, and the others pretty much have to line up and wait for the cheese to be scooped onto their plate.

I suppose this would have been fine for a small family meal, but my one experience with this was totally unsatisfying because this was something my uncle had organized… for a whole bunch of people! And unless you wanted to get in line for half an hour more than once, you just get one helping of the cheese.

And… that’s all folks! Maybe some other (better) entries will pop into my head now that I’m done with it… but lemmie tell ya, this took me quite a while… and now I’m hungryyyyyyy!

So before I sign off, let me complete this meme with instructions and tags:

1) List down 5 childhood memories of food.
2) And in the tradition of this meme, list the 4 previous taggers before yourself and then your own name at no.5.
3) Tag 3 (or more) other bloggers to continue this meme.

Four previous taggers and myself:

1) Teh Tarik Satu
2) Beer Brat
3) Single Guy
4) Burgwaki
5) *lynne*

Three bloggers that I'm tagging:

1) Lion3ss
2) Malapetaka
3) New Journey

Now, I *know* NewJourney loooooooooves to feature food in his blog, so I really hope you will do this meme some justice. Lion3ss & malapetaka, would be nice to see your thoughts on the subject too... Hmm I just realised I tagged all malaysians... oh well...

Comments

  1. Hey lynne,feeling better? Anyways,that was a very good and insightful meme post.Thanks for sharing....:D

    Oh BTW,is this really your first tag? :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. heyya snglguy,
    feeling much better, thanx for asking! But based on how this bug affected Kosh, it's going to take another week before I'm totally free of my sniffy runny nose :-( No more fever tho, thankfully.

    And yeah, it's my first "real" tag...

    I'd done a meme before, the one about what i was doing 10/5/1 years ago, but I chose to tag myself on that one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aiya how could you tag me on my birthday, LOL ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great! Then you'll be on my list next time somebody tags me..LOL!!

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks!
*lynne*

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