The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read her past market missions here.
Anyway, a new discovery I've made: The leverage you get when you've got a professional-looking SLR on your arm is considerable. It's like, "Oh, look at your spiffy camera! I see you are on a quest to further the bounds of human knowledge. Here, try this x-y-z I traded a monk my GPS in Timbuktu for, carted back via camel, and smuggled through customs!"
Anyway. The one thing grad students, especially international grad students, can always be counted on is to have food in their office. And it doesn't matter how busy they look, they're always happy to talk about food from home.
On this week's "rounds", I strolled by the computer science department with Indian "snackythings" in mind (my colleagues in the English department tend to guard their animal crackers and fair-trade chocolate rather zealously), and literally walked into an impassioned debate on chaat.
Rhyming with knot, chaat (from what I could gather among the flurry of voices) is India's fast food. Street vendors hawk a variety of fried dough-based snackssamosas, puffs, patties, fritters, rolls, you name itwhich go to filling rumbling bellies any time of the day. Prepped as you wait and usually handed over in a banana-leaf bowl (now, how's that for ecologically sustainable?), each city has its own specialty and, of course, legion of devoted fans. Similar to how most of us hold our grandma's chicken soup as the ultimate in chicken soup experiences, chaat-lovers, I've learned, are extremely vocal about the superiority of their favorite vendor's offerings.
In this case (unfortunately), I was not promptly shuttled around to various chaat stands in some wondrous Indian city so as to act as unbiased taste-tester. I was, however, offered handfuls of snackythingsand while I loved the homemade cashew chikki (a stick-to-your-teeth brittle made with jaggery), crispy murukku (coiled, bean and rice flour "chips"), and wispy sev (fried, tumeric-stained "vermicelli" made of chickpea flour), I had to fight to keep from inhaling the moong dalgreen beans that had been skinned, split, and roasted. Almost like Rice Krispies but with more bodydeliciously nutty, not too salty, and very, very moreish, I was assured it was "very nutritious." And while I'm convinced all that protein will grow me more muscles (or some such), you have to be careful about serving sizes when eating stuff with foreign labelsseveral oceans away, they have pretty radical ideas about them.
Fortunately, thanks to my ability to read Hindu-Arabic numerals, I managed to decipher "10g" right on top, followed by a "3g" below.
Me: "That's not 3 grams of fat for every 10 gram portion, is it?"
Them: "Nah, it's probably just a typoyou know, copywriter left a zero out somewhere."
Me: "OMG. That's 3 grams of fat, right there. I've had like… 10 handfuls, at least!"
Them: "But it's good, no?"
By this time, I had started running on the spot. But yeah, it's good. Really good. And I'm sure it's just a typo.
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