1/18/12

Plain

There's times (rare though they be) when I want a particular vegetable with nothing on it but a bit of salt, and possibly some olive oil. I don't want any spices, herbs, or complex flavours. Sometimes, I just want the pleasure of eating that vegetable as it is, with no adornments.

It was a couple of weeks back, but I recall how pretty it looked. Bossman was hungry, and I had cooked up a pumpkin for something else. I scooped out the pumpkin from the shell, and put it in a bowl, with a bit of salt. Then, I added some steamed kale, and a bit of steamed red cabbage. The colours looked so vibrant and vivid in the bowl. I tossed the kale with a bit of sesame oil and salt, and left the other veg just plain.

Of course, he ate every bite, and enjoyed it.

It's funny how those things work out. I'm surrounded by really amazing food all the time. Whether it be at the restaurant or at home, everything I eat is fairly complex with regards to its preparation and spicing. There's multiple layers of flavour and spice that go into every dish. This goes double for the Indian food that I tend to make, which is inspired (though not constrained) by South India, which tends to layer on the spices. You generally start with hot fat, whole spices, pop the spices in the fat, then add aromatics, then add powdered spices and any chiles you have, and then add your food, and herbs of your choosing when everything is done cooking. It's layers of intricate flavours, all combined with skill and grace. And I'd say that 99 days of 100, I'm quite happy to settle in with a plate of intricately spiced things.

However, some nights, when I get home, I want plain steamed veggies, or a bit raw veggies with a touch of lemon juice and salt. Sometimes I crave plain boiled potatoes with just a hint of salt. No fat of any kind, but just the plain potatoes. An onion sandwich. A tomato, fresh from the market, with the smell of the sun on its skin. A ripe, juicy Macintosh apple (it's my favourite type). Some daikon, that's been lightly steamed with a bit of ginger and soy sauce. Broccoli, steamed in the microwave for about five minutes, with a grinding of black pepper. Cucumber, with a bare hint of rock salt.

OK, so I'm a bit of salt fiend, but you get my point, right? The next time you get something home, try it plain, without any adornments, and then see what works with it. Sometimes, just having it neat is quite pleasurable.
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