Perhaps you’ve heard of a dining trend that has sprung up over the past few years: restaurants where the entire experience takes place in total darkness. You can see absolutely nothing. The idea is that we are overly dependent on visual cues in eating, and if we take that away it will heighten the other senses. (It is probably also a good way to develop greater hand-mouth coordination…perhaps something to try out on small children? Just a thought.) And for this, you pay what I can only consider a ridiculous amount of money.
Of course, we are the people who refuse to go to the Chinese Buffet unless we have coupons, so perhaps I am not the most qualified judge of high dining.
Luckily for me, I got to experience not only Blind Dining but also Blind Cooking last night, when Hungry Husband and I returned from spending an afternoon with friends to discover that the electricity was out. And when you live, as we do, in a neighborhood of tightly-packed multi-story buildings, there is very little nascent light that filters in from outside. And when you live as we do, in a temporary home, you are likely to overlook purchasing emergency items like candles…
The good news is I had dinner all prepared, it just needed to be heated, easily done over the blue (sometimes orange) glow of the gas flame. And then I settled down in front of the gentle glow of my laptop screen, warm soup in hand to watch an old favorite movie. So, technically, I did not eat in the total darkness; I could see the outline of my bowl, my hand as it moved towards my mouth, though I could not really see my food…but it was probably as close to a real blind dining experience as I’ll ever get. And it was free!
Yes, my birthday was last week. I am now squarely into my 30s, no getting around it. These things happen and the best way to deal with it is eat as if I still have the metabolism I had when I was in my 20s, when it would have been very easy to confuse me with a hummingbird: always moving and always eating and always remaining on the wee side of creation.
I was thinking about what I wanted to do to celebrate ahead of time, and one thing that kept coming to mind was breakfast. Why not start the day off with something extraordinary? Breakfast is a meal that I love—I am always so hungry in the mornings—but rarely put much effort into. A normal breakfast consists of bread, cheese, jam, an egg (usually hard-boiled), a banana and yoghurt. Sometimes for a “treat” I combine the jam, banana and yoghurt for a smoothie.
So it seemed like a proper, slightly decadent breakfast was called for. I started daydreaming of The Golden Corral, which has the mother of all breakfast buffets. I have mixed feelings about buffets but I get really happy whenever there’s someone to make me an omelet to order. And french toast. And hash browns. And blueberry pancakes. And flaky, buttery biscuits spread with strawberry jam. Oh my.
I didn’t go quite that far, considering it was just me and Hungry Husband, but my eggs, (beef) bacon and Apple Cakes from Joy The Baker, served with cute little glasses of homemade cinnamon syrup, made me happy. And full. And after breakfast? I took a nap, because that is what old people like me do when our stomachs are full.
A plate o' happiness
As some of you know, Hungry Husband and I are in the midst of a great transition for work. Right now we are living in a guest flat, and I profiled the kitchen for you a few weeks ago. Over the next indeterminable period of time we will be visiting a few different cities throughout the Middle East, meaning that hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to view and/or cook in some different kitchens as well as sample some new cuisines. I’ll bring you along as much as possible through my new “Guest Kitchen” series.
Our first trip was a little over a week ago. We went Over The River and stayed in a guesthouse. Because it was still Ramadan, we did not eat out at any restaurants (most of them were closed until the evening, by which point we were far too tired to go out), so although I am sure there are some specialties particular to that city, we didn’t taste any of them. I did, however, get a few pictures of the kitchen in the guesthouse where we stayed. It was pretty top notch in terms of equipment (except for knives—pathetically dull), and even had a dishwasher, which we did not use. I would put this kitchen in the top 10% of kitchens I have seen throughout the Middle East in terms of its creature comforts.
Of course I made roasted vegetables one night!
Lots of cupboards with tall shelves
Refrigerator, Dishwasher and Microwave! This kitchen was created for convenience.
The guest flat we’re staying in here in Hillside has a fairly fabulous kitchen. I’ve certainly never had a kitchen this big in my entire adult life, with a lot of natural light and pretty stone countertops and floor tiles.
I’m trying to not get too attached, though, in spite of this:
What's that say?
That’s right, a proper, well-functioning refrigerator that will never get frozen shut! With a separate freezer and doors that seal all the way around! Be still, my beating heart!
It also has the requisite multiple burner gas stove. Of course, we are still in the Middle East and so there’s bound to be a few quirks…in this case, that I can’t figure out how to get the oven lit. I can hear and smell the gas and think I know where it’s coming from, but I’ve clicked the lighter all around inside the oven and cannot get a lit flame to save my life—or to roast my vegetables, for that matter.
Probably the closest you will ever get to seeing me on this blog.
Still, there’s plenty of counter space, cupboards galore, and (for a transitional place) a workable number of accoutrements, including plates worthy of a home at The Greatest Chinese Buffet Ever. Which, apparently, is so great that it doesn’t even need to have its own webpage.