Saturday, February 22, 2014

things that fill me with lust

What inflames me with desire? I'll tell you; I'm a simple man with simple pleasures.

There's a local grocery store that sells comestibles—including Western food items—for remarkably cheap. Huge bags of mandu go for under W5000 (a half-size bag at a typical grocery goes for about W6000). Large bags of red or white "cod blocks" go for about W4000 (under $4) per bag.* Pasta—Western spaghetti and macaroni—sells for W900-W1000 per bag, and each bag is the size of a typical box of pasta back home. Those are better than Wegmans prices,** and I can't find them at any other local store. There's whole salmon for W18,500, which is better than Costco's price for the same thing. A bag of frozen strawberries goes for W4000. Small, single-serving packs of udong (Japanese udon) go for W900 (about $0.82). Bags of frozen veggies are W4000 apiece. A Costco-sized brick of frozen chicken breasts is a very reasonable W14,000. For the frozen items, the bulk items (including ice cream, spaghetti sauce, tuna, and mayonnaise), and the pasta alone, this store is amazing. I only wish it also sold more than just bland American cheese and equally insipid mozzarella.

Before I forget—the store sells one other thing that has me jumping for joy: bacon scraps. I've extolled the virtues of bacon scraps before on this blog (see here and here); they're a cheap, equally tasty alternative to sliced bacon. All the scraps require is a good, thorough broiling to crisp them up, and you're good to go. Crumble and serve in quiche, on salads, with escargot, or in whatever manner your sclerotic little heart desires.

And here's another lust-inducing thing: while browsing the other day, a thought occurred to me, and I typed in "Encyclopedia of Religion." This set, edited by the late, great historian of religions Mircea Eliade (author of The Sacred and the Profane, The Myth of the Eternal Return, and Treatise on the History of Religions), used to cost in the thousands of dollars. Now? There are EoR sets in halfway decent condition on sale for a mere $200. One set, in above-average condition, is going for $450; I'd gladly pay that if I had the cash. I've had my heart set on that encyclopedia for years.

So yes, these are the things that set me to craving. How about you?

*Let me explain cod blocks: imagine frozen cubes of pure cod, about 1.5 inches on a side. Obviously, no cod is big enough to provide chunks of meat that are that large; when you look closely at a cod block, you see right away that the meat has been flaked off, mashed together, and then frozen. The result looks reminiscent of crab meat. I'm going to find out what sort of fritters these cod blocks make.

**Because Wegmans is a store that sells high-quality, high-end products, I initially thought the place would be expensive. Strangely, it isn't: a box of spaghetti at Food Lion—and I'm talking about Food Lion's own el-cheapo house brand—might set you back $1.50, but Wegmans sells its spaghetti at about $0.90 per box. Incredible.


1 comment:

  1. I find myself craving all that lovely food we had in NZ, especially those awesome green-lipped mussels from the Coromandel. It physically hurts to think about how good they were, and it kind of makes me want to cry. You can get them here, but they are frozen--it's just not the same.

    NZ also has awesome cheese. We have a wedge of "Very Old Gouda" (14 months) that we bought at a farmer's market. The samples we had were delectable. If you can make it up to Seoul in the near future, we might still have it sitting around....



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