Soul Food & Boxing Day

Dec. 26th

Prompt: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?* (An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods: A Shopper’s Reference @mysticflavor)

*don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh

Finally, a post about one of my favorite things on this planet: eating. I experience a lot of my social life and different cultures by partaking in food. All I wanted for Christmas was tons and tons of Filipino food, for example– did I get that? Yes. Was I happy? Oh-so-happy.

One thing I won’t forget while I was abroad was the task to find comfort food. To be completely honest, one thing that stood out were McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries. Sometimes, you crave something familiar while away from home! But other than that, I was really into croquetas. Delicious little fried balls of corn meal or flour and chopped jamon or chicken, they were simple yet so wonderful. Brandi and I ate croquetas together nearly every day we were together. They’re like the Spanish version of hush puppies– and a bit elusive Stateside. (However, Ocho in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA has a bomb take on croquetas– they put goat cheese in the mix, and it is simply delightful.) I just remember many afternoons spent with Brandi, looking at the menu, and she would look up and say, “Um, do you want croquetas??” The answer was always yes.

Little balls of Heaven.

As a grad student, finding comfort food is important, too. I think I’ve found my place: Cafe Yumm! Yumm Bowls are my go-to comfort food in Corvallis. They’re packed with beans and rice, primarily, topped with vegetables and a delicious sauce– additionally, it doesn’t take long to prep a Yumm Bowl, so I often pop in for lunch. I’m sure I could make something very similar, but it’s nice to not have to cook. I don’t have a particular moment in mind at Cafe Yumm, but I do know it’s been a good place to go and sit quietly while enjoying my quick lunch. An unconventional place of peace, I suppose.

We had my absolute favorite Filipino dish yesterday during Christmas: kare-kare. It’s a ox-tail stew made with peanut sauce, and other than that, I don’t know quite how to describe it. The meat is tender, the vegetables are a perfect consistency, and the peanut sauce (and bagoong) provide a nice sweetish, salty note to the entire dish. It’s not for everyone, but dang, is it ever for me. I’m pretty sure I mumbled, “This is my favorite EVER,” at least 3 or 4 times during dinner yesterday while taking a bite.

Kare-kare, you are too good to me.

A few days earlier, I got to share a nice sushi dinner with two friends. I love sushi, but this night stood out, just because of how fun it was. We had spent all day shopping downtown, and then we had decided we needed sushi. One of my friends said he knew where the best sushi was, so we went there and proceeded to order a whole bunch of different items just because. There was no special occasion, just several friends sharing good food and good laughs.

In conclusion, I love food. It’s my way of connecting with others, whether that is healthy or not (I know what you’re saying, diet experts– don’t make food a social thing, blah blah blah…). It’s a way of experiencing the world around me, and so far, it’s worked out fairly well.

Also, can I just say I’m really happy I don’t work retail anymore on Boxing Day?

 

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