I haven’t written much about the time I spent in the United States, and I’m not really sure why. Waiting for the right time, perhaps, or just happy to let that time stay as a memory instead of being written down and recorded. But it’s been a few months since I last wrote something on this here blog, and in the absence of anything else I’m prepared to hit publish on right now, here goes.
It’s the 18th of August, 2020, and I’ve just eaten a deep fried Oreo. The occasion marks five years to the day since the last time I ate a deep fried Oreo. Well, that I can remember, anyway. I’m pretty sure I haven’t eaten a deep fried Oreo since 2015, although I can’t be 100% sure.
This day five years ago, Martin and I had just finished the outward journey to Santa Cruz. You know, the place that practically everyone has a t-shirt, but I doubt a quarter of anyone wearing a Santa Cruz tee has actually been there.
The deep fried Oreo was delicious, in case you’re wondering.
I’m not entirely sure what prompted us to go to Santa Cruz in the first place. Or if I did know, I don’t remember. All I remember is having a free day, a vague notion of wanting to go to some Apple Stores, and the feeling that I wanted to ride a rollercoaster in the US. What resulted was a 250km round trip that involved every mode of transport, and some deep fried Oreos.
The epic journey is a tale for another time (aren’t they all), because the reason we’re gathered here today is to talk about food.
I don’t consider myself a foodie. Not in the slightest. I kind of resent the term, only because it conveys a kind of elitism, a certain attitude towards food, that I’m not really about. I’ll happily admit that while I’m slightly picky about what I enjoy eating, and that I absolutely favour some food over others, but who isn’t, and who doesn’t? Everyone has their own favourite food, and it’s totally fine to enjoy a particular food more than something else.
Take banh mi, for example. We were talking about lunch at work, and I said that while I enjoyed all of the usual banh mi fillings, my absolute favourite had to be the crispy pork banh mi. You know the one; the one with the crunch, then the melt-in-your-mouth taste accompanied by just the right amount of salt along with the usual banh mi fillings. It’s delicious, and like I said, easily the best banh mi filling.
Simply expressing my opinion that crispy skin pork was the best banh mi filling led to me being called a foodie recently by a colleague, and I immediately refuted the claim. I said that while I enjoy certain foods more than others, I definitely don’t consider myself a foodie in the traditional sense of the term.
The thing about foodies is that they often express a fanaticism towards food that I just don’t share. They’re all too keen on expressively telling you what they’ve been cooking recently, or what they had on the weekend that was literally the best meal they’ve ever had, or what they’re looking forward to next weekend. It’s a lot of effort to keep up with a foodie in conversation, especially if you don’t share the level of enthusiasm for food they seem to have. You’re answering questions about what you cook, what flavours you tend to bring out in your food, what cooking style you have or have been using recently, and if you’re someone like me who likes to keep things very simple in the kitchen out of sheer laziness rather than a deeply-rooted hatred of food or whatever the foodie thinks of you, it’s a lot.
I’m not a foodie. I’m not like that. To me, food is more or less something you eat so you don’t die. But every now and again, I’ll go and have something nice. Probably not that healthy, but nice.
Sure, I’ll enjoy a meal here and there. I like my steaks as much the next guy, and there’s a lot that can be said for going and having a nice meal with some good friends. But I think a lot of the time, it’s more about the companionship than it is the act of degustation itself. Even the worst meals can be countered by some good conversation with family and friends. I don’t think I’ll ever have that relationship with food that foodies seem to; it’s just not something I see myself doing. Like I said, eating is important, but for me, it will never become more important than whatever else I’d rather be doing.
Deep fried Oreos take the total amount of things that I’ve had deep fried that aren’t normally to about three, although there’s probably heaps of stuff that I can’t remember right now. The first thing I had deep fried that aren’t normally was deep fried banana fritters — a popular dessert when served with ice cream at our family restaurant, back in the day. There was another takeaway shop a few stores up which did deep fried Mars bars, which were nice, but were extremely messy due to the chocolate immediately liquifying. They were also kind of a lot — the batter combined with the sweetness of the chocolate, caramel, and nougat definitely meant it was a had-to-be-tried, probably-should-never-be-eaten afterwards kind of deal.
If you’re after deep fried Oreos in Brisbane, I can recommend the ones they do at Red Hook, located in a tiny laneway in the Brisbane CBD, just off Queen St. No, they didn’t pay me to say this.