Saturday, October 6

All About Food

Remember my neighbors? Well, they may be famous, but their home stinks!! Really bad! The first time I smelled it, I seriously thought there was a dead rodent nearby. Then, a friend of mine came to my room & said it smelled like a wet dog. She thought they were cooking dog. Which, from what I understand, isn't too uncommon in the Philippines. However, after a little investigation (my cook is pretty nosy!), we discovered it was not dog, but some sort of dried fish they were cooking. It was DIS-GUS-TING! (And, I'm not the only one who thinks so!) We turned on all our exhaust vents, turned the A/C up high & stayed as far away from that side of the condo as possible! It eventually dissipated. But, not before I complained to the housekeeping staff that came to get some empty boxes out of my apartment. They just nodded & smiled when I asked them what in the world smelled so terrible. Who knows... might have smelled like roses to them.

Then, it happened again a few days later. A terribly repulsive smell! Seriously... I'd take the stench of my son's rotavirus over this dried fish business any day. So, this time, I held my breath, ran out my front door, pressed that elevator button as fast as I could & prayed that I could hold my breath until the elevator made it up to the 25th floor. I went straight to the front lobby & made a formal complaint. I halfway knew they wouldn't and/or couldn't do anything about it, but I wanted my complaint to be known.

The third time we smelled it, we were alerted when Nick came running into our bedroom & announced, "Something smells like poop!" He was right on!

And, when it occurred a fourth time, I was furious! By the time I made it downstairs to complain AGAIN, the lady at the front desk said, "Oh, you must be here about the smell?" (I'm thinking surely they must have gotten a whiff of it!) I asked how she knew & she said they had already had one complaint that morning. She said, "In fact, I think it was your husband. Yes, it was. He stopped by earlier to let us know." Good for him! (But, they obviously hadn't done anything about it.)

She offered to give us an ionizer & was surprised when I told her that we already had 4 ionizers in our home. (With the pollution as bad as it is here & having no control over the air conditioner filters, we decided the next best thing we could do was get air purifiers.) She did say that her manager was in the office that day & they would be sure to pass along our complaints.

I'm not sure that they ever talked to our neighbors, but the smell hasn't been nearly as nauseating & revolting as those 4 incidents. There are still times when they cook some terrible smelling food, but after that dried fish, I think I can take pretty much anything. As long as it's not that!

Speaking of food... I cannot find a cheesecake here that tastes like cheesecake. I'm not sure what they are made of here, but it doesn't taste like Philadelphia Cream Cheese at all. I bought a frozen one at S&R (a store very similar to Sam's with a good selection of American imported foods) the other day, thinking it might taste like a good, old fashioned American cheesecake. It's much better than what I have had here, but it's still not as good as I was hoping. We drizzled it with chocolate syrup, hoping to make it taste better. It helped some, but still not enough to taste like Olive Garden's delicious cheesecake!

One last note about food... our cook was making the kids spaghetti last night before Sammy & I went on a date to celebrate his birthday. I walked through the kitchen just in time to watch her pour a large amount of ketchup into the pot of spaghetti sauce. I asked her why she did that & she said it was a little secret to sweeten up the sauce. Huh? Why? She claims it makes the sauce taste better. I explained to her that my kids have been eating spaghetti sauce as it was since the day they started eating spaghetti. No need to go & doctor it up now. She acted like I was crazy for not wanting to make it sweeter & to be honest, I think it's crazy to want to sweeten it. However, that is very common with Filipino food... it is much sweeter than traditional American food. They put sugar in everything! Tea is automatically sweet. You have to request unsweetened tea. And, yet, for the most part, they are still fit & slender. Why didn't I get those genes?

All this talk about food has made me hungry... for food I can't get! I miss good 'ol Texas food!

I'll end with one more quick, funny story... I was asking around last week for a good Mexican restaurant to take Sammy to for his birthday. One lady recommended a good place with "great Mexican food" - Taco Bell! Ummmmm... no!