Friday, April 30, 2010

Why I hate Jello

I love some of the commercials... they are creative and funny and well done. And the tune sticks in my head. But, I still can not eat jello. It reminds me of grade school and cafeteria lunches and everything wrong with making good food, bad.

When I was in grade school, they would put stuff in the jello. Carrots, grapes, whatever random things they thought would be cool and fun for a child to eat -- it was the 70's, I know -- but eeeeeewwwww!! I would look at it and think that this cannot be real food. And, if any of you has seen carrots in jello -- you know it looks like worms. Tell me who in their right mind thought this would be a good thing? Although, I cannot recall now, perhaps the boys liked the jello with the carrots.

So, when I was watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution - I was thinking about my grade school. My whole goal with lunch was to figure out a way not to eat it and try to get out of the cafeteria with out the lunch lady seeing I still had a full meal. My sister's and I are, as far as I know, the only children in the history of American schools - to have to stay after lunch to eat lunch. I know, I know --- the lunch ladies meant well. They thought we were too skinny and we needed to eat. All I could think was that this was NOT food -- and when was school going to be over so I could go home and eat real food.

I realize that Jamie is attempting to bring "real" food into schools. But, from the few shows I watched, I couldn't get it out of my head that he was more concerned about how it shows on the telly than changing peoples perception and interaction with food.

My dad was able to connect me to food in such a positive way --- by making from scratch brilliant meals that I wanted to eat. And, the reason I hate jello and processed food so much is because of my dad. Because I knew what good food tasted like.

Remember, I said we were skinny little kids? It was because we hardly ever ate processed food. We did eat a lot of carbs and over time I have learned that it is not good for me (personally). But, if you can get a kid to choose a home cooked meal over McD's fries --- you know you are good.

Thanks Dad! :)

So - here is one of my dad's recipes for prawns (shrimp).

Fried Prawns

  • 200 grams shelled prawns
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (please note this is cayenne powder not "chili" powder)
  • 1/2 tsp haldi powder (aka: turmeric powder)
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste (see below for how to get tamarind paste)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 cm piece cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying
Clean and wash the prawns with a little bit of salt. Grind all the masala (aka: spices) together except for the tamarind (unless you have a grinder that does well with liquids - then go for it. I do up most of my spices in a coffee grinder, that is NEVER used for coffee! which works well for me. Then, I add in the liquid stuff later. I get a much finer masala this way and I don't have to worry about mucking up the mixer or having uneven blending.)

Put the prawns and masala into a pan and cook with a little bit of water - until prawns are cooked through and there is no liquid in the pan. (note: a little bit of water is probably a tbsp or less. Since shrimp cook very quickly).

Heat oil in a khadai (pan --- ok I said it was his recipe didn't I? -- and you know I'd use butter or lard or some fat instead of oil.. but this is his recipe.) Once hot, toss in the prawns and fry until prawns are crisp.

Yummy! He really made the BEST prawns. ummm..... now I may have to make this for lunch tomorrow. Although we do have left over veal short ribs in the fridge from tonight's dinner. umm... I know tough life I lead.

hey sibs --- if you want a hard copy with Dad's writing of the recipe let my know.

and Gastrogora -- I'm catching up... slowly but surely. :) thankfully you have a move coming up and then I might even beat you! LOL.

Tamarind juice/paste

  • tamarind pulp (Asian stores will carry it. I like packages instead of the jars as they don't process the tamarind as much)
  • cut out a nice chunk - for this recipe I'd say a 1/2 inch piece or less
  • put it in a bowl and then add hot water (about 1/2 cup - depends on the size of the tamarind)
  • let sit for 10 min or so
  • once it's cooled off a bit - blend with your fingers the tamarind and water
  • strain and use
Anything left over you can either put in the fridge or freeze it for the next random time you need tamarind paste. An alternative is lemon juice, which I think most people have around. But, the tangy flavor of tamarind makes it dish. I'm sure the lemon would be good.... but I've never tried it.

1 comment:

  1. your "gut fear" and childhood resistance to eating Jello has a strong biological basis as well. Gelatin makes Jello congeal. "Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle, pigs, and horses" - oh yum! Boil some more old horse bones, I wanna do shooters! =P

    The prawns sound yummy.