Saturday, January 16, 2016

Food Nostalgia and Rant over Cost of Food in Montreal

Montreal, Place Ville Marie, with Basha's just up the street. You can smell the cumin from here :)


I was remembering today how I used to eat dog biscuits as a child; not any old dog biscuit, the black ones in the big bag under the kitchen sink.

My mother was a great cook and she liked to bake so she made a lot of mint chocolate cakes and peanut butter cookies, allowing me to lick the beaters after the batter had been poured out, but there wasn't a lot of snack food in the house.

It was  the 1960's.

I recall my favorite snack foods were my mother's semi-sweet baker's chocolate on the top shelf of the pantry; red cabbage; and raw oatmeal eaten out of a tumbler.

Also, any mushrooms in the chili in the fridge.

All food now deemed very good for you.

Yes, when I got my allowance I would high tail it to the Decarie Handy store for Lick-a-Maid (seems wrong.) Lick a Made...:) and  chocolate bars, the teeth-tweeking toffee, my fave.  I recall lusting over the HUGE fruit and nut bar that cost 39 cents, so too expensive.

Just to say, I snacked healthy back then, except for the dog biscuits and toffee. Can't imagine what was in those dog biscuits - or, more precisely, what was in the "licorice"black ones  that made me crave them.

Today, I have a poodle that loves fruit, apples, oranges, you name it. Also, squirrel shit.

These days, I  eat sweet potato fries while watching Tennis on my Samsung Note.

My neighbours were Polish, so they had all kinds of cool foods. I was friends with the daughter, a year younger than I, and most afternoons I would snack on their sweet sesame and honey crackers,  La Vache Qui Rit cheese and, of course, KOOBASSA (kielbassa?) by the yard.

I was very tall and skinny, so they thought I starved at home.

It was my big brother, 3 years older, who brought the 'crap' into the home: he was always on the cutting edge of everything, music, literature, food.

He lived on Instant Breakfasts and Philip K. Dick.

Funny what you remember. Today, it's spirulina and Kombacha and blueberries and the last remaining Pacific salmon in the world, worth its weight in gold, and tumeric, which is in curry, so I could eat that all day long.

My mother probably made a curry or two. Don't recall. It's her 'southern friend chicken' that attracted the neighbourhood kids to our house.

My other neighbours were from India by way of the UK, and they eat "tea" after school and it consisted of foul tasting things, because it was genuine Indian food, not the dishes with added sugar to appeal to Westerners.

Or maybe I just wasn't used to the exotic flavours.

I am now. I live on cardomon, coriander and cumin.

Cumin..ah.

The first time I tasted that delightful spice was in a falafel in, say 1975, when Basha's, the Lebanese food place, opened its first store on Ste. Catherine in Montreal.

I was vegetarian that year and I instantly fell in love with  their delicious and cheap falafels.

Still, love 'em.

Montreal back then. I used to watch the Italian widows pick dandelion greens from the side of the Decarie Expressway.  Oo, lead poisoning and detox at the same time. But I bet they knew how to cook them.

Expo67 had lots of nice 'new' food, sushi and such, but I didn't get taken to any of their restaurants. I brought my own sandwiches to the fair.Probably peanut butter.

Well, with the falling loonie, the cost of food in Montreal is skyrocketing. The CBC claims that for every cent the loonie drops, the cost of food goes up 1 percent. (I think that's what they said.)

The price of food here in the city has been rising for a  few years. Costco, Costco, Costco. Maybe I should try eating dog food again. It's supposed to be as healthy as human food (although the industry is unregulated.)

I sometimes make my own pizzas. Those packaged ones are getting smaller and smaller and more and more expensive - and they don't taste good anyway.  How hard is it to make your own pizza?

 Anyway, I also live on lentils these days, with lots of tumeric, coriander and cumin, for health. I fully expect that's all I'll be able to afford in my old age, but, hey, I've had a good run.

My nails and a dessert at the Modern in Moma in New York, this year. A decadent meal, for sure. I had duck, sea-bass...tasted a sumptuous foie gras...all delicious.

Someone else paid, for my  birthday.