I was standing in front of the Asian/Thai product shelf, looking over some things to stock the pantry: coconut milk, sesame oil…things like that, when a slight, old Asian fellow (his wife just over his shoulder) approached the shelf and interjected his short arm upward toward it. He latched onto a small jar of Chinese Hot Mustard, discussed briefly with his wife about its merits (so it sounded, but wasn’t sure, since I don’t understand any other foreign languages aside from Arabic) and went on his way.
He was so assured, so intentional about his choice. So much so that I seriously considered obtaining a jar of my own. Except, I didn’t need it–at least I didn’t think so. Funny thing is, whenever I watch a foreigner latch on to a food product, I believe they are using the best product possible for their culture’s cusine preparation.
But, is that right to presume? I mean, did that Asian couple really know how to cook well? Could it be that their food product standards aren’t matched up to others of their own culture? In my own extended family, I have eaten–firsthand–many dishes made by various aunts and grandmothers, only to realize how varied they all were in both taste and ingredient choice. (Of course, Kaukab’s surpassed all of them.) Same culture, different cookery skills. So, I guess it shouldn’t be any different for the Asian couple, either.
In the end, I gathered up my *sesame oil and soy sauce and bid the Chinese mustard “farewell”.
*sesame oil is a great way to add a nutty flavor to sauces and dressings. I use it to make a citrusy salad dressing with lime, ginger paste, hot sauce, maple syrup, poppy seeds, dijon mustard, salt,and canola oil. Or, a marinade/cooking sauce for drumsticks, along with some soy, lime, brown sugar, garlic salt or paste, ginger paste and hot sauce.