19 July 2007

Peanut Butter to the Rescue!

I took a container of rice and mung bean sprouts (from the pot that I'd made the other day) to work with me for lunch today. It tasted fine when it was fresh off the stove, but for whatever reason, it got sort of watered down when I nuked it for lunch. Allow me to explain.

Whenever I'm eating a daal and rice, I do the rice like my mother used to do when I was a young child. Because children really like soft food (and because I was child number three for my mother, and she knew this well), she would mash up the rice really well, then pour on the daal, then mix up the lot of it together really well. It's almost like having the texture of rice that you would with a Venn Pongal (recipe is in the book). It's comforting to the tummy, and it feels creamy when you eat it. The rice I'd thrown into my box was cold, so I couldn't very well mash it up. Instead, I figured that if I heated it up long enough in the microwave, it would come close to that texture that I so loved.

Not so.

So here I am, sitting with something that's lacking in mouthfeel. This is not a good thing at all, because around lunch time, I sort of transport to myself when I was four years old: very picky, and not eager to sit for a meal. I'd rather chat with my friends, or watch the birds cavort around. Who wants to sit around for a boring ol' meal, when there's so much to distract yourself with!? However, unlike when I was five, I know now that if I don't eat enough on time, I get cranky.

I frantically searched my office for something that would give the meal a bit more heft. When I used to eat that garbage, I would throw in some butter on top, and it would get that texture going just fine. Fortunately for the sake of the cows, those days are long past. Come on, Dino, there has to be something here!

Bingo.

My eyes lit on a jar of peanut butter that I always keep in my desk for emergencies. If I'm screwed, and forgot to pack a lunch, I can always snag a bag of pretzels, or some fruit, or some bread, and have a bit of a meal that's reasonably satisfying, as long as I dunk it in peanut butter. So, in went a couple of tablespoons of the creamy stuff. I added a bit more salt and pepper (also things I have access to at all times), and stirred it around some more.

Divine.

What was a relatively watery mass became transformed into this delightfully flavoured bowl of creamy dreamy wonder. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner! I'm tempted to use this trick for when any soup or stew is looking too thin, however, it does add a considerable amount of fat, so I might want to be a bit careful with the stuff. That being said, fat or no fat, it tastes wonderful, and I'm glad I kept my little jar in reserve.