Saturday, April 10, 2010

Curry makes the meal

Food is readily available, free, for the most part germ free, and a far cry from the MREs others have to endure.  I shant complain.  I would be remiss, however, if I did not make some observations of the deployment cuisine. I have previously mentioned the curry fajitas on Tuesday, but may not have noted the preceding cumin-laden kung pao chicken on Monday, or the Indian-spiced steak on Wednesday.  Oh, and Thursday is Indian night.  You can always get a salad or soup if you tire from the Aruvedic churnas.  Be forewarned, however, the salad is sprayed with a sulfa-containing preservative, and some people ain't quite right for a week after the salad - probably those with sulfa allergies.  So far, I have been unaffected, which I can also say with regard to my forays into the fruit tray, which is, honestly, as good as what you would get at the Fresh Market.  Mangos from Kenya, Syrian pears, and avocados and onions from who knows where are highlights from the DFAC (dining facility).  It is a marvel of logistics that anyone can arrange to feed thousands of voracious soldiers in a war zone with anything but prepackaged meals, let alone fresh perishibles. 

Recently, I have taken advantage of a healthy collection of cereals, and seem to eat cereal or pop tarts twice a day.  The resourceful radiologists also help keep the menu more diverse as they seem to have daily shipments of blue corn chips, wasabi almonds, albacore in salt water, or other delicacy foreign, and are generous to share. 

We also have 2 restaurants on base.  You have to pay for this food, but it is a change in ambience from the routine of the DFAC.  Ciano's is like a Iraqi Sbarro's.  The pizza is better, but nothing to cherish.  They have tasty coffee.  The other eatery is called Sami's Turkish Cafe.  This place is adorned with middle eastern decor - kilims, brass pounded reliefs of one mosque or another, and some belly dancing music - but has pressboard tables, plastic chairs and peeling linoleum floor reminiscent of a branch of Napa Auto Parts or the DMV.  They also serve pizza, and one of the great debates across we deployed concerns the relative merits of Sami's and Ciano's 'Za.  Frankly, it is like comparing K-Mart and Walmart

I prefer Sami's not because of the pizza, but rather the small array of Turkish cuisine.  Tonight, I had what I was told was lamb.  It was decent, not great, but, importantly, tasted like something you would cook at home, rather than something defrosted or mass produced.  I sat on the hospital roof by myself and ate my lamb tava watching the sunset, imagining I was somewhere else.

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