I can see from the ol’ calendar on the wall that it is Wednesday.
Nothing escapes my eagle-like eyes.
Except those letters on the eye chart on the DMV. Those little buggers are very elusive.
But as I saying just a few sentences ago, it is Wednesday, or as the ancient Romans called it, “Hump Day”.
Wednesday night here at Casa de Biff is “eat out night”. As the name implies, it is the night when the kitchen is eschewed and dinner is partaken of at a restaurant. I’m not sure where this particular tradition got started. Somewhere back in the mists of time, I guess. Back in the day, it was probably a welcome break from the grinding workweek and borderline poverty.
What better way to claw one’s way out of poverty than by going out and having overpriced food?
But I have always been a firm believer in treating one’s self (within reason) to keep one’s spirits and enthusiasm up. It bucks up one’s spirits if, occasionally, one can say, “I’ll have the lobster, my good man,” to the waiter.
Except I never said that.
It was more like, “I’ll have the meatloaf, please. Extra ketchup.”
Wherever my brows might have been, they were never high.
Occasionally on “eat out night”, I might have even said, “I’ll have the goulash, please … and put a good head on it.”
My palate was never accused of being sophisticated. Nor was I, for that matter. When I was growing up, fried Spam was considered, “eatin’ high on the hog“. And, from what I’ve read on the side of the can, that is not far from the truth since there is actual trace amounts hog in Spam, though I’m unsure of the actual percentages.
Anyway, I did not mean to set off on that tangent. Tonight’s destination on “eat out night” was a Chinese buffet. I’m sure the food is about as Chinese as I am, but it had Chinese-sounding names and I always eat with chopsticks, so that’s about as close as one can get without having to get on a plane and sit there for more hours than I care to spend on a plane.
I have often wondered why I eat with chopsticks when I go to Chinese restaurants. They go against every principle I have regarding food. They are not efficient. They can lead to splinters if they are of inferior quality (which they almost always are). They are useless when it comes to eating soup or cutting something that’s too big to fit politely on one’s mouth. They can lead to the gastronomic equivalent of “writer’s cramp”.
And yet, I love eating Chinese food with them.
After pondering why for a bit, I think I finally concluded that I like the fact that chopsticks set a very nice pace for eating. They control the amount of food that can be consumed in a single bite and they control the frequency at which one can move food from one’s plate to one’s mouth. They force one to slow down … to enjoy the food … to enjoy the surroundings. They are like a teacher telling a child to walk, not run. The labors and skills necessary to eat with chopsticks makes us pause to appreciate those bits of food that actually make it to our mouths.
So that is why I eat Chinese food with chopsticks. It heightens the experience and sets a gentle, comfortable pace.
After dinner, since it seemed to be an international sort of night, I thought it would be nice to drop by World Market for a little walk. If you don’t have a World Market where you live, you are missing out on a real treat. It is a store that sells things from all over the world. There is furniture and art and toys and cookware and, best of all, food. Now, I’m sure most of this stuff is of an inferior quality and would be laughed at heartily by anyone from the country from where it supposedly came from. But I enjoy it. Where else can you pick up Vegamite, Japanese Pocky sticks, German mustard, Belgian chocolate, and English tea, all in the same trip?
So tonight I bought some Veira brand Marie “biscuits” from Portugal (excellent with coffee!), some German honey (made from bees wearing lederhosen and knee socks), and some McVitie’s fruity shortcake “biscuits” (recommended to be eaten while wearing a monocle).
I’m not sure why I bought these things.
Perhaps because I have a very bad habit of impulse buying when I go to World Market. It makes me feel so cosmopolitan!
But one only has to step outside the automatic doors of World Market to realize that one is still in Texas. The 102 degree heat (39 C) is a very good reminder.
So, all in all, it was a very international evening: Chinese food, Portuguese biscuits, German honey, British fruity shortcake biscuits, and Texas heatstroke.