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Thoughts for Food

I don’t like kerang*. They taste like mud. And are an excellent way of getting yourself a bout of hepatitis. So I don’t eat them. And the ones I picked out of tonight’s char kuey teow** were particularly scary looking. Somehow, that brought back memories of two food-related frustrating incidents with my parents while growing up:

This first one is more my brother’s tale than mine:
    Brother: “This custard looks funny!”
    Mother: “Don’t be stupid! Eat it! Don’t waste your food!”
    Brother: “But it smells funny!!!!!!!!”
    Mother: “Don’t be stupid! Eat it! Don’t waste your food!”

    Yeah, that went on for a while until my brother actually thrust the Tupperware into her face and made her see what was wrong.

    My poor brother… For treats when we were younger, we’d get to make some custard. And not the very liquid stuff: we’d use loads of the Bird’s Custard Powder, and make it really thick, and pour them into these little tupperwares (labeling them with our initials so we wouldn’t eat each other’s portion), put them in the fridge, and have them when they were nice and cold.

    The thing is, these teeny containers were the same ones that were used for other stuff, including storage of sambal belacan***. So it seems that my father, wanting to keep a smidge of some particularly delicious sambal belacan that had been part of a meal, looked in the fridge, saw a container that to him was usually for sambal storage, popped open the lid, and without looking in, scraped the little bit of sambal belacan into it.

    “It” being the custard container “belonging” to my brother.

    Imagine that: sambal belacan flavoured custard.
    (Hey, I like ‘em both. I just don’t think they go together very well… )

    So maybe a day later, there I was, tucking in to my yummy custard, while my brother was having to convince my mother that something with wrong with his.

    I remember the frustration.

Perhaps if he’d articulated more than “smells/looks funny”?

Hang on, wait for Tale Number Two before jumping to any conclusions...

Tale Number Two:
    Another treat when younger was briyani with honey chicken. My father would buy two or three portions from this one restaurant, and when he got home we’d put the rice & chicken in the rice cooker with a drop of water, switch it on, and let it heat up so that it would be as hot as if we were getting it fresh at the shop.

    So one day he came back with some. So I put the rice & chicken in the rice cooker.

    … Something smelled funny …

    I think I told my father that something smelled funny. I was told to not be silly, don’t delay, switch on the cooker, I’m hungry let’s eat.

    Fine. Switch it on. Maybe 10mins later when it’s done, I lift the lid, and again, I am struck by something smelling quite off. Again I raise my concern of something smelling funny, and again I am dismissed without any effort to actually check what I was talking about.

    Then we spoon out the rice and chicken onto our plates.

    I dunno if anyone started eating yet. I know I would have hung back and delayed eating, because I knew something wasn't right, no matter if my concerns were being dismissed just like that.

    Then my father noticed something. Maybe he saw something moving? Or maybe only then did his nose work?

    We take a closer look at the chicken.

    And there are little wormy maggoty things crawling out of it!!!!!!

    No kidding!

    My father gets all mad, packs everything back up, drives back to the restaurant, throws it at them (well, not literally lah – I think!), demands his money back, and never sets foot in that place ever again.

    But meanwhile, at home, I’m left wondering why it had to play out that way.

Perhaps if I’d articulated more than “smells funny”?

Yeah, so my brother and I were perhaps in our early teens during the above incidents, so yeah maybe we were typical teens, who just weren’t that communicative, so perhaps proper articulation just wasn’t what we would do?

    Then again, for those who know how we grew up: it’s kinda hard to talk to a parent that’s not listening and has already made up his/her mind no matter what you say, or don’t say.

Great. Now I’m gonna have to think some extreme happy thoughts to get this taste outta my mouth :p

~ ~ ~
* kerang: mussels? Some sort of shellfish, anyways.
** char kuey teow: fried fettucini-type noodles
*** sambal belacan: a spicy shrimp paste thingy


  1. Eeew, how did those maggot end up in the rice? That's the problem with unregulated street foods, you don't know what you are getting....

  2. SG> actually the maggots were in/from the chicken. essentially they were selling old (rotting!?) chicken passing it off as fresh. and this was from a proper restaurant, not a street hawker stall. Bleah.


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