Adventures in Eating

Oh, my.  Oh, yummy. Oh, deliciousness.

I went to Dim Sum today with my husband and some of my siblings.  It is so much FUN.  If you are not familiar with Dim Sum, let me explain.

Here in Massachusetts, Dim Sum means driving into Boston’s Chinatown and going into a big restaurant that is packed, packed, packed with young Chinese families, mixed groups of Chinese and non-Chinese, college students, babies, toddlers, old Chinese couples and everyone else you can imagine.

There’s no real menu. You just sit at your round table and wait a minute.  Waiters and waitresses come around pushing steam carts full of all kinds of Chinese delicacies in small steam bowls and little porcelain dishes.

Generally speaking, you have no idea of what it is that you are asking for.  The waiter or waitress will point to the various steamed, fried or sauteed items on the cart and say, in very heavily accented English, “bean, beef, very good!” or “mussel, yes?” or “bao tzu, you like!”

I love it.

I love the whole idea of it. I love the incredible smells of the spicy foods. I love biting into a steamed bun and finding a sweet mouthful of something that tastes like custard. I love the adventure of chomping into a crisply fried bit of dough, with no idea what will be inside. Today’s surprises included shrimp and eggplant.

One of my favorite dishes at Dim Sum is spicy chicken feet. I am not sure why, but there is just something so out of the norm about sucking the spicy fat off of cooked chicken feet……


So often, our lives are simply a set of repeating days.  Toast, coffee, read the news, go to work, eat lunch, home again for the usual dinner. Not bad, nice and comfy.  But still….

How lovely to have a chance to sample an entirely different culture just by going out for brunch!  When I go to Dim Sum, I have a chance to pretend that I am an adventurous world traveler with a love of mystery.  When I go to Dim Sum, I can let go of my usual ideas about food. I can dive into a plate of something sort of wiggly and cabbagy,  and smile at my brother as we both realize that we are munching on slices of spicy beef tripe.

Thank you to my wonderful brother Mark and his wife Sue, and to my sweet sister Liz, for coming to Dim Sum today!  Oh, yes.  And to the ever patient Paul, who would have been perfectly happy with a plate of waffles.

Next time, I hope to get more siblings and some of our kids to join us.  You haven’t lived until you’ve sucked on a chicken foot.


Even the worms hate it.




Yeah. I know.

I keep writing about food.

But its been snowing for the past month and there are five feet of frozen disgustingness outside my window.

Of course I’m preoccupied with food.

So today I want to write about one of the great food cons of all time.  Today I want to expose the misleading information being spread around about kale.

“Kale is a superfood!”

“Kale makes a delicious shake!”

“Kale will cure your high blood pressure/heart disease/sagging butt/bad breath/crappy mood.”

Ha.  What they fail to tell you about this superfood is that it tastes like the smell of skunk and is just about as digestible as a pile of brillo pads.

I have tried it in shakes. I have tried it steamed.  Sauteéd. Raw in a salad. I have even tried kale chips.  R-r-r-rr-r-r-r-rowf. NO.

I recently cleaned out the veggie drawer in my fridge.  I pulled out the aging lemons, the shrunken radish and the mystery slime.  What was left?

Three old leaves of curly kale.

What the hell is that stuff made of? It had been in there for at least two months.  It was still crisp.

I scooped those old leaves up with everything else, ignoring my “don’t waste it” instinct, and I threw it into the compost bin that I have going in my basement.

Let me take a moment to describe this compost system.  I collect all kinds of fruit and veggie parts, along with coffee grounds, bread, tea bags, napkins, egg shells and paper towels in a small bucket next to the sink. When the bucket is full,  I dump all of it into a big plastic box that is home to a pile of “worm castings” and roughly 2,000 wriggly little red worms.  These guys are voracious and indescriminate.  They eat anything they find, and transform it into compost. I once dropped a face cloth in there by accident and two days later it was in shreds. They will turn a banana peel into rich, dark soil in about 20 days.  Orange peels? Maybe four days.

So I dumped in the lemons, the radish, the mystery slime and the three leaves of kale.  I dug in with my trowel, turning the compost and making sure that everything was buried.  The next day, I turned it again, and up popped the kale, untouched by a single worm nibble.  I turned the compost again the next day, and the next.  Kale leaves kept coming to the surface, looking as green and crisp as the day I bought them.

“What the hell?”, I had to ask myself, “Have a really been eating this stuff?”  I poked the leaves with the tip of trowel, tearing them into smaller bits.  I thought maybe smaller pieces would be less intimidating for the worms.

No such luck.

It is now one full week since I dumped everything into the compost.  I’ve added another small bucketful since then.  I turned the pile today, and saw half of an eggshell that I threw in yesterday, and part of an apple core.

And 9 pieces of crisp, green curly kale.

I looked at the worms.  One of them seemed to approaching a kale leaf, so I grabbed a magnifier and looked closer.  I saw a tiny worm mouth open and take a teensy nibble of kale leaf.  Then I watched in amazement as the minute little guy pulled his head back and made a perfect miniscule grimace of distaste.  He turned around, slid of the kale and buried himself in a pile of potato peels.

Even the worms can’t seem to digest it!

I guess the explains all the gaseousness that came along with those healthy kale shakes.