Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Falafel (Attempted)

One of my absolute favorite foods in the world is falafel.  Unfortunately, I almost never have it.  I don't  eat out (not that it's common on menus, either) and somehow, I cannot seem to cook it, though the web abounds with images from people who apparently think it's easy enough to make from scratch that it's what they survived on in college.  (See picture at left to know what it SHOULD look like.)

We got a boxed mix early in our marriage -- like 13 years ago -- that just fell apart in the oil when we cooked it.  That was my last attempt until last night, when I spent hours following a recipe from scratch and ended up with similar results.  

On a positive note, my homemade pitas actually had pockets and were my best yet.

Luckily, it smelled so good that my kids all loved it despite its flaws and the fact that I had to throw most of it out, saved only by my valiant husband who managed to get some more ball-shaped pieces to stick together for us to eat after I had given up.  But, I have two quick stories about my experiences with falafel. 

I mainly remember being in heaven when I ate it within the walls of Old Jerusalem on our family trip in 1992.  So delicious, so crispy, fresh, authentic as all get-out, standing at a stall in a crowded Middle Eastern street.  Love, love it.

And then, just this year at the grocery store, I was finishing being checked out when another worker came up in the line behind me to talk to the checker about, what else, a frozen package of falafel.  It was funny to me, because the brand was something like Morningstar Farms or one of those types of vegan-y frozen food purveyors, and this lady obviously thought it was supposed to be fake meatballs of some kind.  She was holding the box and poking fun at it to her coworker, asking her if it wasn't the grossest thing; and she seemed nice enough, so I ventured to tell her that it wasn't fake anything, falafel was actually just like that, even in restaurants or Jerusalem.  That it was never made of meat, but it was nice crispy delicious fried balls of flavorful, seasoned bean meal.  Of course my description didn't win her over or anything, she still thought it sounded gross, but it seemed to slightly reassure her as to the state of America's fake food industry.  The checker was rather caught in the middle, I could tell she was trying to keep an open mind and please everyone, which was also sort of funny.  She wouldn't agree with her coworker that it sounded as gross, she was interested in hearing from me as someone who actually knew this food, but you could tell she also probably wouldn't try it herself.

Ah well, broadening people's minds at your local Pathmark, that's me.

As for frugality, I sort of wasn't yesterday.  I mean, I was, but I outweighed it by buying my most expensive pair of shoes ever.  After years of finding whatever literally fit-and-cost-least at Payless, I decided that I should at least try, once, a "real" pair of running shoes and see if that did anything for me.  Pretty much no one read my post on running (horrible title, I don't blame you), but I thought if I committed $80 -- pause for my heart attack here -- I might make some strides, so to speak.  Plus S. has been buying ridiculously expensive shoes for years.  

So here's my leap into true runner-dom:

Which gave me some chafing on my pinky toes AND a sense of legitimacy and motivation on my premiere run this morning.  I'll have to break 'em in a little, I guess...

To balance it out, though, I found this awesome t-shirt at Old Navy for 1.97 that rang up as .97.  
OK, so it doesn't quite balance it out, but hey, it was thrilling, plus I used a $10-off coupon for the shoes... 

1 comment:

  1. I, being the me that I am, would avoid Falafel whenever possible myself, though I don't ridicule it. On the shoe front however, I've been of two minds. For my normal day to day shoes, I've always gone for the payless stuff and paid more for running or TENNIS shoes, when I was playing tennis....with one exception. I have to wear steel toes for work, and I wear them out pretty well. I have to buy another pair on a roughly annual basis, and spend $100ish every time. Worth it, though there is some break in to be done on each pair.