Saturday, December 27, 2008

Repairing Food

Among the treats I sent my mom and dad for Christmas was this little canister filled with seven small vials of finishing spices.
My parents live in a seniors community, and although their house (called a "casita," because it's small and it's in Southern California) has a full kitchen, they don't cook much nowadays. There is a dining facility on the campus, complete with waiters and menus.
But the food sucks. I have heard such funny stories about the "chef." English is apparently his second language. He is not well versed in Escoffier. He does dabble in recipe reading, however, then he completely makes up a new dish and gives it a fancy name.
One time he served a pile of boiled potatoes, and called it "Potatoes Anna." He might as well have called it Potatoes Banana, because it was just as phony.
Another time he served "Key Orange Cake." I will let you imagine the logic behind that one.
Mostly, though, the food is bland and unimaginative.
So I collected a series of flavor enhancers I thought might add a little kick, right there at the table. Not spices you have to cook with, but tastes you can just sprinkle on.
My mom tells me she is disinclined to take the kit to the dining room, because her tablemates might want to "borrow."
So, mom, here's my recommendation for using your truffle salt in the privacy of your casita: Toss a couple of pinches over popcorn.
That's what Cranky and I had for lunch today, and it's crazy-divine. Haute junk food.


Anna Banana said...

My mom lives in one of those places where the food quality varies between bad and ok. Their chef puts really long strands of shredded carrot on everything. Like a foot-long strand all curled up. The residents laugh and put it on the side. -Potatoes Anna Banana

cookiecrumb said...

Anna: How perfect that you were the first to comment. Anna Banana.
Those long strands of carrot sound like they came from an infomercial. :D

Zoomie said...

What an inspired gift for parents who have everything they need, really!

grundoon said...

"Key Orange Cake"
I might just have to take this as a challenge.

el said...

That is so beyond thoughtful. Your poor folks! Can't they, you know, surreptitiously pinch things onto their plates? I suppose that would be uncommunal.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Sweet of you to say.

Grundoon: I'm so excited about your "challenge." Go for it.
Do you have a blog?

El: My mom just told me that she's telling her tablemaates the spices are dietary. For her use only. (I don't know how my dad will get to use them, then.) I hope they give it a try.

dancingmorganmouse said...

No reason your poor dad can't come down with the same disorder as your mum - that may scare away some of the tablemates too :)
Ooo, WV is intnesse - how apt.

Zoomie said...

I can tell your folks were young during the Depression - frugal! Tell them to share the spices and you'll send them a new selection for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays! :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Morgan: That is a fabulous idea. It sort of makes me want to print up a sign and pin it to my shirt, saying "I'm contagious; stay away."

Zoomie: I know. You know. ;-)
Do think this current depression we're in is going to turn us "frugal"?

pea said...

that is unbelievably sweet and tender of you. i hope your parents come up with a plan to use them in the dining room that works for both of them.

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

What a wonderful idea!! I made my mother-in-law a set of spice rubs to add different types of flair (Hungarian, Lebanese, Moroccan, etc) to her regular ol' meat and potatoes. Because they're simple and easy to use she loved them. However, for someone who can't add funk (or DE-funk) the meal preparation, finishing items is such a lovely idea! Also, *I* wouldn't mind some truffle salt....

jimmycrackedcorn said...

That is a truly thoughtful and excellent gift! Send them a little refill kit with a tiny funnel!

Michelle said...

Season's greetings, Cookie! Sounds like a perfect gift! I only wish I was so creative during the holidays. Hmm, if you have any extras, you know where to send them!

cookiecrumb said...

Pea: I hope they do too. They're a bit shy about appearing "smartipants" in the community. I'm flattered that you liked my gift.

Tina: We are thinking alike! BTW, truffle salt is at Williams-Sonoma (and better than truffle oil).

Jimmy: How funny. I actually did use a tiny funnel to fill these jars. Merci for the good wishes.

Michelle: Oh, I have an idea where to send them. In exchange for some macadamias and red salt!! :D

Michelle said...

Deal! Just tell me where to send them! I'd love to send you a package... ;)

MODman said...

Move over Martha Stewart. Excellent idea! I am going to have to plant a similar idea on my folks.

MODman said...

Move over Martha Stewart. Excellent idea! I am going to have to plant a similar idea on my folks.

Brittany said...

good lord. did you say truffle salt on popcorn?
I'm trying that- like, right now.

tammy said...

Brilliant! What a great gift. As for "key orange cake," I don't know, maybe your parents' retirement community is more "swinging" than you thought!

Happy New Year!

Catherine said...

Watch that truffle salt! I tried one in a store and all I could think was bad eggs.

Happy New Year!

cookiecrumb said...

Modman: I'm so happy to have developed this idea you all like. Go for it!

Brittanay: Totally. Don't even bother with melted butter. It's insane.

Tammy: Oh! You mean like "key party"? Har!
Happy New Year.

Catherine: This truffle salt is from Williams-Sonoma, and it's really good. If you like truffle flavor. You might be a resistor. :D