Friday, February 29, 2008

blog entry # 2: holy stinking !@#$%

okay, so my package of various Indian spices arrived and before even picking up the package, i noticed a fetid (which would be зловонный in Russian) stench emanating from it. it smelled like durian. if you have never had the great misfortune of tasting a durian, you absolutely have to, no matter the cost or inconvenience. (thank you, Betsy, for bringing me one back in our raw food days; i will never forget it, no matter how hard i try).

anyway, i open the package and begin pulling out packets of spices: black cumin seeds, nigella seeds, then a jar of tamarind paste (which had some sort of animal hair stuck to the outside), some pomegranate seeds, the mango powder...then, the source of the noxious fumes. it was the asafoetida, which on Wikipedia's website, is also described as: devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, hing, Hilteet, and giant fennel. i vote for "devil's dung." being the brainiac that i am, i lifted the container up to my innocent nostrils and took a fairly large sniff. i nearly fell down (which is what happened when i smelled durian). the smell was so obtrusive that i could actually taste it, and now, an hour and half later, i can still taste it. i can't wait to try it in a recipe.

so who's coming for dinner?

is this thing on?

hmm. i don't really have anything to say, at least nothing i would put on a public blog. there's not much going on in my life out here in the hinterland. as i sit here i am doing several things, however: 1) learning to speak Ukrainian 2) waiting for UPS to bring my asafoetida, mango powder, and tamarind paste (yes, my husband and i cook Indian food--dot, not feather).

i should mention that i'm learning Ukrainian so i can speak a little bit to the little girl my friends April & Jason are adopting in Ukraine as i type. i already speak a little Russian, so it's not hard to learn Ukrainian. i'm actually really loving Ukrainian; compared to Russian it's softer in the mouth, like eating milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet.

why do i speak Russian, you ask? i was a Russian linguist in the USAF a long, long time ago. i am definitely not fluent in Russian any more. i am, however, completely fluent in sarcasm. i could probably teach a college level class in it. speaking of teaching classes, (note to self) it's time to prepare for the Type 1 Diabetes class i'm teaching the Young Women next week!