Running Out of Ideas

Every time I launch a new post — which is twice a week — I get a little message from the hosting service that says, “Wow! Congratulations! This is your XXX post!!” I think I’m up around 160 now. (You can go through and count if you’re curious and don’t have any plans this afternoon…) That’s a lot of occasionally useful information!

Sometimes someone will say, “Aren’t you worried you’re going to run out of ideas?”

Package of samgyetang ingredients

I don’t worry about that. There are ideas everywhere I look. Last night at the Parkers for dinner I had a colorful conversation with my pal Nat (star of the post, “Sundays with Nat”) about whether we were going to kill our chickens and eat them after they stopped producing eggs (he is, we aren’t). We decided it might work if we ate his chickens and he ate ours — we couldnt bear the thought of wondering which of our chickens we were eating as we settled to the table. I mean after all, they think I’m their mom! It was quite funny, and would’ve made a good blog. As would have Nat’s frustrated attempt to make the pasta dough I taught him (ratio of flour:egg was off).

Today, I left the mountain in the rain to go run some errands in the Valley. Most of my errands are food-related. My primary task today was to get a new litter box for our pig, Henri. But I figured I had time to squeeze in a couple foodie stops. And just on today’s outing, I could’ve found inspiration for at least half a dozen posts:

• Have you shopped for food at Target lately?? They’ve got a passable selection of fresh produce. But dig around a bit in the dry food aisles and you’ll find excellent tortillas and Mexican sauces, artisan pasta, good quality baking supplies, kosher foods, delicious sandwich bread… and the best salt & vinegar kettle chips on earth.

• I like to watch cooking shows on PBS on Saturdays. There are no commercials, no obnoxious chefs with spiky blond hair… One of the newer shows (i.e. no Jacques Pepin) is called “The Kimchi Chronicles” and features several people — including, inexplicably, Hugh Jackman — exploring Korean cuisine. It’s where I got inspired to make samgyetang — chicken ginseng soup with sticky rice. In Korea they eat it during summer, but it seemed like a good choice for a guy with a cold on a rainy day. So today I set out to get such uncommon ingredients as dried chestnuts, ginseng and jujubes.

• One day I will write about the Greenland Korean market, which is the most confusing of all ethnic markets. There is an entire aisle devoted to ground red pepper, for example. There are 2,000 different kinds of kim chee.

• Driving along a decidedly uninspiring stretch of Sherman Way Blvd., I noticed a mini-mall (of which there are many) that had a Salvadoran pupuseria, a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich shop, a Mexican carniceria and a German market. Surely that’s worthy of a post!

• After Greenland, I headed to the Mecca of Mexican cooking, the Vallarta supermarket. I’m going to make 100 tacos for a holiday party. In addition to a whole lot of tortillas, I bought dried corn and New Mexico chiles for pozolé, and spent contemplative time gazing at the tequila selection. If I’d have had more time, I might’ve ordered the world’s best sandwich, their torta Cubana, for lunch. I could do a week’s worth of posts at the Vallarta.

• On the way home, I stopped at the local Indian-owned Chevron station — not for gas but instead to get the delicious vegetable and meat samosas they sell for $1.50 each. Once I stopped there with my friend Jon, who has been trying to convince me to go into business with him making New Zealand-style meat pies to sell at gas stations and convenience stores. I’m not certain of the merits of his idea. He told me how terrible the samosas were. “No they aren’t, they’re delicious!” I said, earning a scowl. I think he’s jealous of other people having success selling hand-held food items at gas stations.

*   *   *

Whatever you’re doing, life is full of inspiration everywhere you look.

However, if I ever do begin to run out of ideas, I may have to revisit this post and expand on one of those examples.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Gaskin
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 01:48:48

    Why are the pig (Henri) and Lola separated? Have they come to an evil standoff?


  2. g
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 06:19:17

    Hey, now that I see this footage of Lola with her white bandage I have to tell you that I was driving home the other night after 6 and Lola was up on the street and the only reason I saw her was her white bandage – I wasn’t sure whose dog it was, because I didn’t know about the bandage. But I was worried she was so hard to see by drivers in the winter dark.

    Of course, our Jack gets out too from time to time. Maybe we need a “watch for dogs” sign.


    • scolgin
      Dec 14, 2011 @ 18:12:04

      Thanks Glennis, I know I get worried when she gets out. No major injury, just a hot spot she keeps licking so we wrapped it. Hopefully it froze and fell off while she was outside this morning. LOL


  3. paul
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 21:12:41

    I have a bunch of Fava beans growing that are looking amazingly strong and healthy. I am thinking around January, being the cold weather producer they are, to be eating them regularly. Photos to come as they progress.

    If you run out of ideas then I will assume there are no more ideas left in the world to explore . . .


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