Monday, December 6, 2010

"Don't judge me by the color of my skin!" a.k.a. Anthropological Field Notes from WVC

Yesterday, as I walked into his conversation with a heavily-accented Rancho Market employee, I was shocked to hear my (very white) husband saying, "Don't judge me by the color of my skin!"

The next words out of his mouth? "I *like* spicy foods!"

(Turns out, Russ couldn't help himself after the second time said employee made a remark about what kind of chiles "white people" like. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that the employee laughed when Russ said that...)


Our Great Weekend Multicultural Adventure began with a stop at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center for their Holiday Art Fair. Sampled raw chocolate bars. Looked at local art/craft work. Listened to a live choir (I think they were Vietnamese?). [Side note: This is my 'hood - I grew up less than a mile from the Center, but I'm pretty sure things weren't so awesomely diverse in the WVC back in the olden dayz...]

Our next stop was for some quick Pakistani food The Chaat House inside Qaderi Sweetz and Spicez, 3546 S. Redwood Road. Russ had a mixed veggie curry and I had pakoras. The Oiliest_Pakoras_Ever. This is why I don't eat here a lot - it's a once-in-a-while greasefest, but it tastes sooooo good!

Next we headed to Eastern Groceries, 1616 West 3500 South. This fascinating place sells clothes, kitchenware, and food from all over - Middle Eastern, Bosnian, Indian, African.  If you get there early enough, they supposedly have fresh-daily injeera. I've never been early enough. I did buy Turkish coffee and still-warm pita bread. The clerk clearly thought I was insane when I asked how to make Turkish coffee...Also, Russ says a man was glaring at him the whole time we were there, but I was much too distracted by the giant pile of Korans in Spanish to notice.

On my quest for roasted chiles for my Veggie Verde, the next day we went to the Latino Mall - Rancho Market, 2470 South Redwood Road. This is a fascinating place - imagine a food court with about 6 kinds of "Latino" food genres, with a few vendors sprinkled in, plus a dentist's office and an insurance agency. And a Rancho Market as the anchor for it all. If I weren't a wanna-be vegan, I would love exploring the food places here. Unfortunately, I think I may have inhaled lard just walking past them.

Just because I was fascinated by the strip mall in general, we also stopped in at Halal Nutrition and Ethnic Food, 3197 South Redwood Road. The most unusual feature of this small grocery was a section of bulk foods and spices, many of them labelled “organic” - not unlike the aisle you’d find at Whole Foods or Smith’s Marketplace. There’s a mini-restaurant on one side of the market, but it was closed when we were there. They also sell fresh injeera, but were sold is nice to know that there are backup injeera possibilities when my pals at African Restaurant and Mini-Mart are closed!

And you thought SLC was lacking in diversity. Ha! These were just a few of the places within a small radius - there are several more places I’ve been before and some I have intended to visit “someday” in the for my next set of culinary field trip notes!

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