21 April 2009

Baby Steps To Sashimi.

Being at the hospital for twelve to thirteen straight hours sucks. Every other day after I finish my regular clinical internship hours from 7:00-3:30, I clock in and head directly to the mammography film library to work for a couple more hours and snag some extra cash as a Student Tech. I'm usually out by 5:30 or 6:00 at the latest, which is still early enough to run errands and whatnot before the day is completely done. However the guy who works the night shift had a family emergency and has been gone for over a week now, throwing the whole staffing schedule off.

In order to get things done in the library/admin office -- the most important of which involves preparing the next-day exam schedules for the various imaging services departments -- another Student Tech and I have been asked to stay extra late until the guy returns to work (no word from him so far). So yeah, while I get a bit more money out of it, leaving the hospital at 8:30 leaves me virtually no time nor energy to do things afterward. I don't want to complain too much though: The pay's pretty good for what it is, the people are cool, and it beats working part-time retail hands-down.


The most striking thing I've noticed about living (back again) in the Midwest is how culturally isolated the majority of the people here are. Not that they don't want to learn for the most part, but -- and please keep in mind I'm not referring to everyone -- they're so far removed from actual Asian cultural experience that their only exposure is through the occasional Asian/Asian-American friend, or through television (which may or may not be a good thing depending on what they're watching).

Not surprisingly, I've found that my classmates and co-workers here in Kansas are overall less willing to try new cuisine than their counterparts in California and Washington. I'm guessing this is because they just weren't exposed to it nearly as much, given the demographic makeup of the Midwest versus the West Coast. While this is completely understandable, it makes me a bit sad that some of them aren't willing to at least try food that they've never eaten before. I mean, how do you know you don't like something if you've never tried it? And I'm not even talking about the "delicacies" Andrew Zimmern shoves, still squirming, down his gullet on Bizarre Foods. I'm talking typical ethnic cuisine, and if you try it and still don't like it, then I'm cool with that.

So a few weeks back I resolved that, while I lived here in Kansas City, one of my personal missions would be to broaden the culinary palettes of my friends and co-workers -- and a few days ago I had my first chance. Since the beginning of the year, I'd been talking about the tastiness of Thai food to a few Asian Cuisine Virgins, and last Friday one of my more food-savvy co-workers and I decided to order Thai for lunch. I immediately asked D if he wanted to try it. A little background: He'd lived in Missouri/Kansas his entire life -- more than 50 years -- and I think had vacationed in Mexico a time or two. D liked Chinese food, and while I don't think he had even considered trying Thai before, he was game. So I ordered him a heaping plate of (you guessed it) Pad Thai.

Pad Thai was the obvious "starter" choice as the most taste-accessible dish -- the noodles, chicken and various garnishes and veggies look basically like Chinese food to the untrained eye. D liked it almost immediately and, in between exclamations of how good it tasted, devoured half of the contents of his take-out box before stopping, saving the rest for later. He even periodically offered samples to the rest of my co-workers and classmates who happened to be eating in the breakroom, but they unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) declined.

Ah, people, but you don't know what you're missing. Okay, more for us then!

It made me strangely pleased that I was able to share something as simple as a new food experience with someone, but hey if it helps open the door to new cultural experiences as a whole, then I'm all for it. Food can be the universal conduit.

Now if I can get D to try sashimi next ... hmm maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Baby steps ...

1 comment(s):

Lisa said...

Sashimi is an acquired taste...but hopefully you'll find someone to share it with.

Glad to know your still blogging, ran.

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