A Post-Structural Critique Of Cultural Hegemony

I was out of town for a few days, visiting Providence and Boston. Most interesting culinarily was a trip to a Burmese restaurant in Brighton (or Allston, maybe) right near where the greatest Vietnamese restaurant in Boston used to be back in the 80′s. Viet Huong (in Allston) had about 4 tables, seated 8-9 people at very most, and had a lovely old couple who did everything: she cooked, he served. It was freaking genius. I miss it; it was easily my first food-geek experience. I’ll write a bit more about the Burmese food in a bit after I try something here at home.

The other night we had a mutated version of the chicken thigh escabeche I made a few posts ago, so tonight I cooked those bones with carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, a dried shiitake, and a scallion to make a fragrant stock. I pressure-cooked mung beans in the stock with a piece of bacon skin, removing it and puréeing the cooked beans with more stock when soft. I whisked in some miso, and let it sit while I crisped up little lardons of the latest batch of miso bacon. The result was very much what I had hoped for: an Asian-flavored take on split pea soup that was dense, creamy, earthy, and with smoky pork to set it all off. I sprinkled the top with scallions and togarashi.

On the side, we had king oyster mushrooms sautéed with garlic and deglazed with soy, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. I wilted some kale in the mushroom pan and deglazed again with a bit of the stock. Each made for a compelling and savory companion to the soup, and the combination made for good rainy spring evening fare.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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