Sometimes P’s mom completely cracks me up. She comes up with things I just don’t expect.
Like when I asked her, “Is there anything else you need from the store before you go back to Nepal?” she went to the cupboard and pulled out a box of microwavable popcorn, “This, good gift, I think.” She said. I had made a few bowls of microwavable popcorn when we were watching a movie one night, and I think she really liked the taste. She said her sister has a microwave in Kathmandu, so this would be a unique gift for her.
“You show me how to make?” she asked, and we ran through the process of opening the plastic wrap, looking for the words “This side UP!” on the package so she knew how to place it in the microwave, and talked about microwave timings (and the possible need to experiment with microwave timings due to different microwaves and altitude).
“Yes, good gift for sister.” She said after the demonstration, then added with another smile, “and I could visit to eat also.”
When I asked her if there were any foods she tried in the US that she wanted to try again before she left she answered, “Joe’s Trader bhatmas [soybeans]… one we try.”
As you remember from Sneaky Mamu, P’s parents really like taste testing things at the Trader Joe’s grocery store. However the first time they went to one in Philadelphia they were scolded for taste testing too many times. So when they came to our Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts they were nervous to take more than one sample. Mamu came up with a loop hole to the “only one sample” rule when the food that was on offer that day wasn’t vegetarian. She surmised we, as vegetarians, could “sneak” extra portions for P and Daddy since the server wouldn’t know that we wouldn’t eat our share.
A week or two later we went to Trader Joe’s again, and Mamu was already excited in the car about what she might taste test, and was hoping it wouldn’t be a meat sample. When we got to the store she was pretty quick to start checking out the taste test stall. She asked me, “Vegetarian?” and I asked the server, and was giving the 100% vegetarian go ahead—it was a new product, tofu edamame nuggets dipped in sweet chili sauce. Mamu loved them immediately. I commented that they were good and asked if I could take a second and the server said yes. This delighted Mamu, but by the time she went for a second helping the nuggets were finished and the new round was still cooking. I chatted with the server for a bit while we waited for the next round, Mamu winking at me conspiratorially, hoping for her illicit second taste. We took a package home for dinner.
These were a good find. A healthy and tasty alternative for little kids who might want a chicken nugget— mental note for a few years down the line.
Anyway, last night we did our final Indian grocery store/TJ shopping excursion before P’s parents depart this Sunday evening. As we turned into the parking lot, Mamu was already abuzz in the back seat, explaining to our Nepali neighbor who came along for the shopping trip that he could taste test in the store… “Only once, unless you try [to sneak more, wink wink]” (sorry had to add that in, even though she didn’t articulate it, I had a feeling she was thinking it.)
I asked her, “Mamu, are you going to try for 2 taste tests today?”
We headed into the store looking for the tofu edamame nuggets that Mamu wanted to try again before she left for home, Mamu was quick to bee-line for the taste tester station. Yesterday they had crackers with jam and cheese.
“Vegetarian?” she asked me. “Yep,” I answered, and handed her a paper plate with the cheese/cracker. Then I went in search of the nuggets which took me a while to track down since only a few packets were left.
A few minutes later I bumped into Mamu, and she seemed really excited. “I eat twice!” she declared, “once you give, and another man give chocolate. He say, ‘you want’ and I say ‘yes’ and he give. What kind chocolate, I don’t know, but he give extra!”
“Mamu, you had two taste tests!” I said, and her face lit up,
“I did!” and she gave me a big thumbs up, which struck me as such an American thing to do. It cracked me up, I was standing in the aisle of the grocery store giggling. Then Mamu started giggling, and we were both giggling like kids.
Mamu was very proud of her double taste test.
We had her tofu edamame nuggets with sweet chili sauce as a side dish for dinner.
And tonight I’ll take her to the regular grocery store to find a nice big packet of microwavable popcorn.