Friday, January 18, 2008


Last week we hired a woman to come to our apartment, once a week, and cook dinner. She will also be buying the groceries for that dinner, as well as whatever other groceries we want. I glanced off this subject before.* To my mind, the best reason to contract this service is this grocery shopping. It's difficult to shop around here for several reasons that I'll just list: different types of groceries are sold in different types of places, often the best of these are strewn over disparate areas of the map (produce at markets, dry goods at co-ops, herbs and spices in Chinatown, etc.). Frequently, the process by which supply and demand settle on price is language intensive, happening on the fly amid the turmoil of the venue (and proceed, to some extent, based the buyer's aptitude: what should products cost? What should quality look like with regard to exotic local things? Which vendors trade in fresh stuff? Etc.). We aren't helpless; but it's these considerations make restaurants the easier option, where products are listed in menus, predictably priced, and meals can be as cheap (or cheaper) than cooking from groceries in the States, anyway. But tonight we had a home-cooked meal, thanks to our employee Ms. Hương, who, as a side effect of navigating our grocery shopping, cooks some of it each week (on Friday this week because Sunshine had to work late Tuesday). She made us braised rock fish in the clay pot she bought for us, two dozen little spring rolls, and fish sauce--all ready to eat about forty minutes after Sunshine came home from work. The food was simple home fare, quite good, and we were left with bowls of rambutan, dragon fruit, and one cleverly-cut pineapple to eat over the weekend. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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