11 Feb, 2010
Awhile back I paid a visit to the newish T & T Supermarket for an article I was pulling together for SavvyMom. (You can read it here.)
T&T, if you haven’t been, is a massive grocery store (owned by Loblaw) that is filled to the rafters with Asian foods. Visiting T&T – for me – is like taking a trip around the world (‘cept I haven’t left Ottawa).
Seriously, I could poke around there all day long. And stay for lunch. And maybe even dinner.
I think exposing kids to other cultures and introducing them to how other people live, play, and eat is extremely important. For example, the lady ahead of me in the checkout line had a chicken – a whole chicken – in a clear plastic bag. It was utterly unlike the sanitized shrinkwrapped birds we get at the grocery store. This one had a head (still attached) and feet (ditto). Is it or is it not important that kids know what it is we’re actually eating? (This is a whole other post, isn’t it? Ok. Onward.)
The tiger decoration on the right is one that I picked up at T&T too. The little part at the bottom is a little envelope, and his head moves side to side.
I highly recommend a visit to T&T, whether you’re adventurous in the food department or not.
My new-to-me discovery was T&T’s fresh soup kits.
They can be found in the “fresh” takeout area. (I qualify it in this way because the takeout area at T&T is really big. It starts with sushi, and moves into dim sum and a BBQ counter, fresh dinner options, and ends at a bakery. The soup kits are between the dim sum and the bakery.)
The kits look like this:
It’s everything you need to make a particular stock (or broth). There are different varieties available, this is the one I happened to choose. It contained pork, dried mushrooms, honey date (?), carrots and turnip, and a very woody looking thing called burdock root (which was completely unfamiliar to me – and still is!). It was like dropping sticks of wood into a cauldron. I felt very witchy doing it.
I’m no expert – I just started making my own chicken stock – but this looked simple enough. Based on the (very short) instructions all I had to do was drop everything in a giant pot, cover with water, let it simmer for a couple of hours, and add salt at the end. And so I did.
Here’s what it all looked like when it was all unwrapped. There was a LOT. Pictured below is one of our dinner plates:
I had to pull out my biggest pot, a stock pot I received as a wedding gift and had previously only used to brine a turkey.
I followed the instructions. I knew enough to skim the foamy stuff coming to the surface as it simmered (ARE YOU PROUD OR WHAT?) but then I had a sudden thought. Was I supposed to peel the burdock root? The instructions didn’t mention it, but what if I was about to poison my family? I tweeted my concerns to the ever-helpful Don (@foodieprints) and we launched into a flurry of discussion and googling. Turns out I was ok. And no one was going to die as a result of my lack of B.R.A (Burdock Root Awareness). (Thank you Don!)
I strained the whole soggy mess and kept the broth. It turned out to be quite nice. It made A LOT. I used it that whole week to make lovely light lunchtime soups for myself. I’d boil up some rice noodles and add whatever I had on hand: fresh mushrooms or cilantro or green onion. Yum!
Some people out there might think that $7.99 is too much to pay for ingredients you could easily prep yourself, but I didn’t mind shelling out for a few unfamiliar ingredients, pre-chopped for my convenience, for a recipe I didn’t have to bother looking up.
What about you? Are you a soupie too? Ever been to T&T? I would love to hear what you buy when you go!