any attempt to get me to go shopping is going to be more successful if paired with something i like. i have embraced adulthood (sort of) and have conceded that after 7 years of sleeping on a mattress on the floor maybe we should have a bed frame – and maybe after living in a house for 3 years we should replace the sheets we have over the windows with curtains-at least some of them, i really like some of those sheets.
it was deicided that the best place to acquire these items was a large scandinavian discount furniture retailer. knowing that this would be hard for both of us, as these sort of shopping excursions and money expenditures tend to give both of us anxiety, pairing it with culinary adventure was sure to please. located right on ford road, in exotic garden city next to each other are patel brothers and krishna catering restaurant.
let’s start with lunch – after all my mother always said you shouldn’t shop hungry. krishna catering could certainly use to come up with a better name, for one it’s not especially catchy and secondly it’s confusing, is it catering or a restaurant, i guess it’s both. the place is essentially indian fast food, catering mostly to indians and therefore not having particular lengthy descriptions of what each dish is. there are many less commonly seen dishes on the menu, and since this causes so much confusion, we just get the buffet. i’ve been warned not to get the buffet, but this is coming from someone born in india who can read the menu.
the buffet is a great place to use plenty of disposable plates and bowls – full of every imaginable type of styrofoam container, and i’m not sure if it’s my moral objection to disposable containers, or the thought of these guys off gassing into my food, but the styrofoam is the one thing that really gets in the way of my dinning experience. still i load up on a little of each item and sit down and ma and i discuss the various items trying to figure out just what they are. once we have figured out what the highlights are we go back for a little more of our favorites. krishna catering is also a great place to pick up a copy of the bhagavad gita or other krishna texts if you should be so inclined. they are for sale but not pushed on you like when i used to go to the free hare krishna feasts. i should really start going back to those feasts – maybe that will be an upcoming post.
and then shopping – next door is patel brothers – it used to be that i went to patel brothers simple because it was convent, i much prefered the place just down the road to the east called india grocers. the guy who ran it would always discuss the various products with me and make sure i knew how to cook them. they also had a really good section of indian sweets including the ones that look like bright orange pretzels and taste like funnel cake soaked in sugar. i loved those. but it is no more and so patel brothers it is, and with it’s expasion i can almost get over the lack of sweets.
browsing the rows ma picks up some bizarre packaged foods, one of which is in the fridge now, it’s slightly sweet and has the constancy of a jello jiggler and the taste of pudding. it’s all hers, but i did at least try it. we also pickup some indian sweets in the refrigerator section. almost all of them have the texture of play dough, but i still really enjoy them for some reason. i spend a bit of time trying to find the ingredients to make green mango pickle, the biggest problem being trying to find mustard seed oil that is for human consumption. almost all of them say for external use only, and since they are located right next to cooking oils – i’m worried about the folks that don’t bother to read.
in the produce section i am able to pick up the green mangos i need, and browse the other unusual vegetables, the luffa, the bitter melon, fresh turmeric and ones i can only guess at.
indian groceries are a great place to pick up spices for cheap, most folks buy them in bulk and use them to make their own spice blends. the only problem can be if you can use them quick enough before they go bad.
in the dry goods section i find myself being especially puzzled, full of items i can’t quite understand such as ayurvedic medicines, strange flavored snuffs, paan, various breath fresheners, and incense. I actually broke down and once bought some paan being intrigued by the idea of eating betel. i can’t say i particularly enjoyed it.
looking over the shelves it’s hard not to linger over a product named swastik especially with the rather negative connotations the swastika has in this country. but it’s really only in the west that the swastika gets such a bad rap, it’s been a positive symbol for thousands of years, and popular among many cultures. even today it’s considered a symbol of luck and good fortune. still more disturbing is that this product is described as being” the snuff with the strongest taste”, and on another panel as “a creamy paste” . i’ll pass, and i can’t imagine this product catching on with too many american consumers.