The Random Off-Topic – June 2015

I want to keep most of my blog focused on food and food writing. However there’s other things that I like doing and want to talk about sometimes, or maybe there’s something that doesn’t warrant a separate post. So I’m going to start writing once a month on other topics that are either not really food/food comic related, or are too loosely related to the main topics I want to keep writing about. I stole this idea from a blog I discovered recently; a perfume blog called Kafkaesque. She does this (among blogging in general) much better than myself, so check it out!

Other reads

Here’s what I’m reading – food and non-food related.

Lucky Peach – Mission Chinese Mapo Tofu

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If I were to put a top ten list of my favorite foods in existence, mapo tofu would be in that list. I could eat this stuff at least once a week if I could. The latest issue of Lucky Peach dives into tofu; one of the features is the Mission Chinese version of mapo tofu.

Mapo tofu is a popular dish in China, notably popular in the Sichuan province. Strangely enough, the first time I had mapo tofu was in the food court within the university center at my college as a freshman. That version, although pales in comparison to more traditional preparations, was spicy and delicious. Mapo tofu typically consists of tofu, ground meat, chiles, fermented black beans called douchi, and many other aromatic spices and ingredients.

This version comes from Mission Chinese, one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in existence. I had their version a few years back. When I saw the recipe, I had to make it. I went to one of the Chinese supermarkets in the area in order to procure the ingredients for the dish. To the left is the dish in progress.

Saga

Saga no 1

I really love comic books, so lately I started to read Saga. Any other Saga fans? It’s a story of two aliens of different species that are waring against each other. They fall in love and have a child together. The narrator of the comic is actually their child in the future at some undetermined point of time. Both sides of the war find out about this child, and try to hunt them down.

Even though it takes place in space, there’s a magic element to the story. For some reason I’m reminded of Star Wars, Dune, and Enemy Mine all at once. The aliens and artwork style kind of remind me of alien species created in the 80s.

The other interesting thing so far is that the two species who are at war with each other, don’t actually fight the war on their own planets because they don’t want to destroy their own worlds. Technically its war between people of the planet, and people of it’s moon. So instead they carry out the war on other planets instead.

It’s very addicting to read, and quite unusual as well. It is not a comic book for children.

Perfume:

As mentioned above, one my latest favorite blog finds is Kafkaesque. Recently I’ve been exploring the world of perfume deeper. I’ve always liked perfume, but never thought much into it except that I’ll go and buy a bottle of new perfume now and again. I started learning more about perfume when I found a particular perfume house I liked. Its not such a distant connection, liking perfume and food. Scent is what makes things taste so delicious, and the more you know about how ingredients you smell, the more you know about the individual components of a dish. When I cook, I try to smell all of my ingredients to be able to understand them better. Now that I’m learning about perfume I smell everything that I can. Well…maybe not everything. It wasn’t until I tried to understand perfume more that I realized how large the perfume world is. There’s even a whole category of perfumes called “gourmand”, bringing scents you most notably think of when eating into a fragrance to wear on your skin.

Sadly, my first run-in with a gourmand scent ended up with me feeling nauseous and sick most of the day. I’m not a big fan of desserts, nor do I like patchouli. Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle was a combination of sweet, vanilla, patchouli, and other awfulness that reminded me of an over-sweet pastry.

Some of my current fragrances I wear are Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil; floral and fruity, Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree; intense citrus (and some cumin, which some people hate but seems to work for me), and Frederic Malle Eau De Magnolia; woody and floral. I’m not going to even pretend to try and speak like I know what I’m talking about. Each of the links provides many reviews about these scents.

June:

I purchased a bunch of stuff during June and hope to be able to write about my recent purchases during July! Also, I have a new idea which I am going to try out in July, so stay tuned!

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