The Obvious

wherein i once again marvel at the future

Posted in food, random by theobvious on December 8, 2010

Now we’re living the life. It’s 8.45 p.m., there’s no running water in the house (we’ve gone down a level, for the past three days there was just hot water, and now that’s gone as well), and no food but raw potatoes which we can’t wash because [see above]. We might be vegetarians, but we’re not raw eaters yet. And A. hasn’t eaten for two days, because he had food poisoning yesterday.

So we’re ordering Chinese (great post-poisoning idea!). Who knew the system was so well-developed now? Gone are the days when you’d pore over tattered magnet menus with your phone in hand. Now you go to the website, choose the dishes you like, go to the check-out page, select “pay via internet banking”, wire the money over, and five minutes later—you are done. All that’s left is to wait over an hour with a grumbling stomach. You even get to select your preferences from a list:

“No onions? No sugar? Ice on the side? No nuts? No ___ (we entered “eggs”)?”

These little things in life. They’re awesome. And now I’ll click my mouse several times to have Nigel Planer read me a few paragraphs of Terry Pratchett’s Sourcery so I don’t feel bored while I do my exercises. Because not having information funnelled into me even for ten minutes is just painful. I’m a child of the twenty-first century, aren’t I.

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our couch is good for surfing

Posted in food, good, people, vilnius by theobvious on November 19, 2010

The couchsurfers are here, and I expected it to be weird, because we’ve never been in a situation where we have to meet completely new people in our house with nobody to introduce us. Surprisingly, we quite hit it off, it seems, unless these are very polite people who’ll hang out with you because they don’t want to offend.

It’s a nice feeling to get to know someone with no shared background at all: not a new member in an existing group, or a new addition to an old team, or someone we got to meet because they’re Jewish. The only thing that unites us is that they were interested in seeing this town, and we happen to live here and have an open home.

For a while now, we’ve been a bit isolated in our own house. Many of our friends moved abroad this year, and in two couples the boys turned out to have severe allergies to cats, so hardly anyone comes to visit, and when we go out, it’s usually either the two of us, or us and my parents, or us and one other couple. We love them, but it does get monotonous.

Despite my social phobia and the anxiety I feel each time when there may be new people to meet, it feels quite nice to just sit there with someone I know nothing about and chat about Morocco and cats and thesis advisors and tourists. And pie, A. baked a pie!

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bottom chef

Posted in food by theobvious on February 2, 2009

Cooking is something that’s always evaded me. It all started when I was a small child; timidly, I approached my grandmother (by then, the only culinary virtuoso I’d met and known) and asked her to teach me some of the secrets of the trade. Her reply (accompanied, no doubt, by a cold and cruel laugh) was “learn to clean your room first, then you can learn to cook!” Hurry to clean I did not. My education in the kitchen proceeded accordingly.

The second famous failure came when my younger brother turned seven. I was eight and severely limited in terms of funds, but possessed unrivaled intellectual riches in the form of a Little Princess Encyclopedia, containing a cookery chapter, vital knowledge for a gel. In lieu of a present, I decided to bake the young ‘un a cake; having followed the recipe to the letter, I served a viciously over-sweetened… thing… which glued rigid smiles of appreciation to the faces of everyone present, including some less than immediate relatives who’d come as guests. The cake, which nobody dared brave a second bite of, was the only dessert at that particular party. So much for the concept of DIY gifts.

When we were living in Jerusalem, just the two of us, A. had to leave for a week. That was my first ever time living alone. A. cooked several boxes full of food and put them in the fridge for me. Once that was out, I survived the remaining time on a box of cookies and another one of figs that I’d ventured out of the house to buy. An attempt to make myself lunch resulted in a pot of boiling water spilling on my leg and inducing in me a deep fear of our little gas stove. No, there was no lasting injury, but there was only a handful of times I cooked on that stove afterwards.

Today I was craving something and could not figure out what it was. We started watching Will and Grace and it hit me – pancakes! Nice fluffy ones, like Will makes in every other episode for no apparent reason at all! So I found a recipe online (yeah, I need a recipe to make pancakes, judge me), and we headed to the kitchen to make them. An hour later, the results were as follows: 1) I was hot from the stove; 2) the pancakes were average-tasting; 3) it turned out they were NOT what I had been craving; 4) my new laptop was spattered in batter (thanks A.); 5) I was bored to oblivion. Brilliant.

So the result of this experiment is this: I now realise cooking is not for me. It is as boring as it is messy, and I don’t understand how one can spend an hour making a batch of pancakes when there’s a good novel in the next room. From now on, we’ll be eating out. After all, it’s the recession, one needs to adopt an expensive habit as a counter-measure.

cheesy

Posted in food, link by theobvious on January 7, 2009

I do find referring to cheese as ‘mild cow’ or ‘aged goat’ immensely funny, but otherwise, this Cheese Clock by Artisanal should be useful for anyone holding, say, a wine-and-cheese thing. And by thing I mean, of course, a swah-ray, refined individual that I am.

analyze this

Posted in food, random, silly, weird by theobvious on September 9, 2008

Here are some weird things that have happened to me lately:

First, a mate of mine called at 6:50 am on a Saturday morning. I only picked up because I keep the phone next to my pillow and it wouldn’t stop ringing. Oh, and because at that God-awful hour it was surely a matter of life and death.
‘What, are you sleeping or something?’ she inquired in amazement.
‘Yeah,’ I was inarticulate.
‘Anyway, I wanted to ask you, if I go to Finland, will you come?’ she blurted out.
‘Now?’ I asked.
‘No, no, just, you know, in general,’ she backed down, ‘If I were to go to Finland, would you come with?’
‘Probably,’ I said, ‘Ask me when I won’t be asleep.’
‘Oh, okay,’ she replied and hung up.
Life and death? Elämä ja kuolema, I’d rather think.

The following Monday I had my first Danish class. Uh, Dænish is sø hård tø prønøunce! If you thought French was difficult, try following instructions like ‘Say LLL, now lower your tongue to your bottom teeth and do it again, force the tongue down, keep it down there!’ Saying phrases like ‘what’s your name’ or ‘what are you doing’ is not unlike swallowing large portions of deep-fried gravel. Did you know that according to statistics only 7% of the letters in a written Danish text are actually heard in the pronunciation? Okay, maybe there are no such statistics, but I didn’t completely pull the number out of my donkey, either!

Finally, today A. gave me tofu with yellow tomatoes and I didn’t die. I totally expected to, you understand.

strawberry jars forever

Posted in food, random by theobvious on March 12, 2008

In a home whose inhabitants mainly feed on ready-made foods it is really difficult to try and eat healthy. Canned fruit in syrup help a great deal, because they are nourishing, low in calories and junk, and delectable.

This is how I discovered that on a jar of strawberries there is a sticker saying: ‘For letters and concerns: [address]‘. How touching, right? Dear strawberry manufacturers, I am concerned that the jar is too small.