Friday, January 27, 2012

City of Churches

It's only fitting that in Adelaide people will worship something, it's hard not to with so many churches plonked all over the place. There's the bogans with their V8 super cars, specifically Holden; the coffee lovers with Cibo, the cafe franchise which by the way will pretty soon take over the churches; my mother with her olive trees; her partner with prawns; my godson with trains; and friends with babies.

Then there's me. I'm still praying to the food gods to grant my every meal be tasty, delectable and delicious.

Once upon a time I used to call Adelaide home. Now I'm simply a visitor catching up with family and friends. This time I stayed about 6 days and got back just before Australia Day. My mum dragged me to her friends BBQ, which I was not in the mood for. Once we were there I sucked it up and made an effort to get to know our hosts: Lili from Vietnam and her Greek husband George.

Similarly to myself, Lili is also a worshiper of food but for a very different reason; because they never had enough of it in Vietnam. She would have to work a whole day just to buy half a kilo of beef. They could only afford to buy it once a month as a treat for the whole family to share. Their staple ingredient of course is rice as it's reasonably priced and filling to eat. I compare that to our approximate 90% meat diet. Crazy. And we think we have it tough with our plethora of food choices and general opportunities. They barely have enough to survive and when food ran out, they would scrape the bark off their banana tree and cook it to eat it.

What struck me is that the most vivid memory she carries with her is the one of hunger and scarcity. She is so happy and grateful to now live in Australia and not be hungry; to be able to work and save some money and send it back to her family in Vietnam to help them.

My worshipping of food will never cease, it's in my blood and burned into my every day practice since I was young. However from now on, every time I chow down on my meals I will extend my repertoire to be grateful and honour how lucky I am to live in such a great country.

Lili showed us how to make fried rice, which she could never afford to make in Vietnam.

Lili's Fried Rice Recipe
3-4 cups cooked white rice
olive oil
3-4 eggs
green peas
3 tablespoons raw sugar

all chopped into small pieces:
red Spanish onion
fresh, cleaned prawns
green shallots

  1. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and pour into the hot frying pan to make an omelet. Once cooked, take out and place to the side and slice the omelet into small pieces.
  2. In the same frying pan, heat some more olive oil. Add the bacon, cabanosi and prawn pieces. Stir together well and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the meat is cooked. Stir in the red onion, garlic, carrot and peas until all mixed (and if peas were frozen, then until these thaw).
  3. Add the cooked rice, raw sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir through well. Lastly add the green shallots and omelet pieces. Voila! Ready to eat.

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