Friday, April 14, 2006

the economics of service

Recently I've been in cost-saving mode. Its not unnatural for me to switch modes ever so often, I think it maintains a form of balance of some sort, that I live on both sides of an extreme so I know how it is like, and just the general knowledge of being able to survive anywhere on any budget. The thing with cost-saving mode is that you would naturally have to turn to cost-saving places filled with other fellow cost-saving people.

The problem with being in this mode is I can never find the things I want. Sorry, need.

I believe that even though you are in a cost-saving mode one thing has to remain constant, good food. Now I am fortunate enough that I can reconstruct most of my favorite foods with ease, saving myself some money over there. But almost always I can never get the ingredients I need at a cost-saving place. So, when that happens, am I still in my cost-saving mode? I begin to wonder...

I was looking for something essential the other day, mozzarella. I was at 3 different hypermarket/supermarkets but there weren't any mozzarella. Why? Maybe because cost-saving people do not eat mozzarella. So I suppose I am crap outta luck if I thought I could easily get my thyme, basil, or creme fraiche. So I didn't.

After about 2 weeks into this mode I started to cook with more oriental(easily available) ingredients, which means soya sauce would be the major ingredient in almost everything. I'll refrain as much as possible from using oyster sauce, I told myself and am proud that I haven't gone to that deep end yet. Its in this mode that I started to rediscover what my mom has been using for years and years. The tastes, the spices, the smell. Its simple as well, but in a different form. There is less emphasis on fresh herbs used, more dry spices like star anise and five spice powder.

I actually quite enjoy it. So there's a shift in menu for me. But I still maintain that I like my pastas, and the use of fresh ingredients as well. Its such a different way of cooking, but I wouldn't say that either one makes me less happy with the end result. Its just food, and I ought to have fun with whatever I can get my hands on.