Monday, December 03, 2007


Since I've made a life out of going to class to learn a thing or two about having an opinion, I can't help but to notice that I've been making less and less trips in a week to Carrefour. There were times when I made three trips in a day just to get a lemon, and then to go back in the middle of an afternoon to get coriander leaves, and then one last trip in the evening to get me another bottle of liquid detergent because I don't feel too good if I'm down to only two bottles of liquid detergent in the house. World leaders can fight tooth and nail over issues like the price of oil, or they may decide to start World War III between them. Or the world may be in total chaos because of something like alien invasion, or ozone layer suddenly burst open. These can happen either in a series of events, or they may happen simultaneously. As far as I'm concerned I gotta have at least three bottles of liquid detergent in the house because I need clean plates, clean cups and saucers, clean pots and pans, clean forks and spoons, and clean knives. As long as I've got these cleaned, I believe I can take all the madness that the world has to give so you see, I won't last a day without liquid detergent.
Same thing with saffron. I gotta make sure I have to have at least 500 gm of it in the house at any given time of the year in order to feel safe within the comfort of my humble home. Saffron means security, peace of mind, and the will power to see through another day. That's why I gotta be a bit more careful with it compared with the way I use liquid detergent. I get my supply of saffron from Isketambola and since Isketambola isn't exactly on the South side of town, I gotta make sure that I only use it in dishes for special occasion. I started with about a kilo and half saffron about a year ago. You can imagine how much cooking I've done with dishes where saffron is an important ingredient. These days I try to resist the temptation of putting saffron in every meal I cook but sometimes it is hard since I'm used to having it even in non-Moroccan or non-Middle-Eastern dishes like ikan kembung goreng kunyit, or masak daging pindang.
A thief may break into my house to cart anything he wants but he'd better not touch my saffron which I've kept in a dark cool place together with extra virgin olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. This compartment in my kitchen is out-of-bound even to myself that I have to have a special clearance if I need to open it. I fill in the application form, put it in an envelope addressed to myself and I then all I've gotta do is stamp approve it myself. It's nice when you are accountable only to yourself in matters such as this but I reckon this shouldn't be standard practice if you are the CEO of a company. You might put in the proposal for a bigger share option and then you put the recommendation letter in an envelope addressed to yourself and you ask your secretary to open it and then you stamp approve it the way I do with saffron. A lot of companies went belly up this way but in my case it is pardonable because all I got after a good meal with saffron in it is a filled up belly. Which is different from belly up.
Speaking of the belly, it has become quite trendy these days to organize charity dinner featuring belly dancers performed by members of the organizing committee so people who have bought a table may bid a dancer with whom you can have a picture taken in a dramitic pose like you are about to smack a kiss on her bosom. I left the room quietly when the bidding was going full swing and there was so much noise in the ballroom that a plane might belly land on the roof of this hotel and these people wouldn't know what hit them. So I left quietly for them to carry on what they were doing. No. That's not entirely honest. I left because I thought the belly dancing wasn't the kinda performance that I'd consider first class. I've seen the best so I reckon it's best that I not see one unless it is any good. Besides, the food they served had no saffron in it which I think is not right since the event was conceived as a Middle-Eastern experience. The only thing Middle-Eastern about it was supposed to be the belly dance but I thought they got it all wrong with the kinda clothes they put on. Let's not talk about it because you might think I'm trying to be smart commenting on something I know little about.
I started with saffron. How did I get from there to belly dancing?


Anonymous kl_gal said...

1 1/2 kilo ?? Damn!Is it as expensive there as here in the US? I buy mine in tiny little sachets with 4-5 strands in them..I still have some from 4 years ago..use it ever so're right infuses alot of food with a divine taste. Getting hungry now..LOL

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go easy on the saffron, there is a shortage on the prized kashmiri saffron due to the climate changes.Having said that I have to admit you've whet my appetite for some kashmiri biriyani.As much as I love your take on politicians in the past few posts (its their world we just live in it!)I wish you'd get back to finishing stories about your childhood/ boyhood me those stories are like a cross between Tagore and Twain. And now I have to soak that basmati rice.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

I don't really know whats the fuss about belly-dancing coz my belly dances or rather bounces when I jump. Does that make me a belly dancer then?

Now I have heard of this Saffron and from your post I get it that its good for cooking and from Kl_gal I gather it is expensive but for the love of god I don't know what it is and how it looks like. Some help here?

10:18 AM  
Blogger tokasid said...

Salam bergen:

Now, why do I have 2 impressions on this matter?
1- Either you are fetish(LOL!)with liquid detergent and saffron or you are an obsesive -compulsive guy who needs evrything clean and superclean(esp the dishes) and obsesive with things orangy-yellow!

2- You are pulling my legs which I think you are.LOL!

Speaking of belly dancing, well I've seen many in my life but most are the likes of what che'gu said. male bellies bouncing up and down toing!toing!toing! Mine too.LOL!

Che'gu: safron tu serbuk kunyit kot! Right Bergen?

10:29 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

kl_gal: They are selling it Rm25 for less than a 100 gm here. At that price I'd as careful as you with it.

Anon 9:23: Kashimiri briyani is on equal level with Kashimiri pilau. Sometimes I go for saffron rice with ghee or Danish butter for the simplicity of it, especially if I've got Pakistani style lamb to go with it. Gosh, I can't afford to think food now since I've got assignments to deliver. Today is a non-cooking day so I'm gonna have to go easy on talking about it. LOL.

Kata Tak Nak: LOL, what's the big deal? LOL.

Tokasid: LOL, must be the remnants of the training I received during my restaurant years. I used to work as a kitchen helper where one of my duties was to make sure the kitchen is spotless. The safety standard for restaurant is very strict there. All they need is one tiny cockroach to close your restaurant for a week. Since I depended on the restaurant to remain open for my meal, I took my job seriously that it got to me even when I'm on my own in my house. LOL. There's a program on AFC 703 on this.

As to the fetish, LOL, I used to be obsessed with how Aunt got the color purple and magenta from natural dye when she was into batik making in the 60s. I used to wonder too how Grandma manage to work up a range of colors for her tikar mengkuang. LOL. It's amazing how they got these colors but when the industry started to change to chemical dye, my interest to know about the process of making natural die just faded...until you mentioned it. LOL.

No, no, Doc, do not mix tumeric and saffron. Although you can but people are gonna know since the taste is world's apart. LOL. I know a makcik who does brilliant nasi minyak and her nasi minyak has this nice saffron-like texture that I asked she could make a profit. She said something like this; idok ler, itu bukannya kome-kome tapi aku letok kaler. LOL.

Makes me wonder whether nasi minyak would taste as good with kaler-kaler merah.

1:01 PM  
Blogger boxxTomoi said...

Hari ini saya belajar 2 perkara ..
Apa itu Saffron (kena cari kat Wikipedia ).. and 2nd . you're staying somewhere near Carrefour .. Wangsa Maju, Subang Jaya .. Abdullah Hukum ???

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Hidayah said...

Salam bergen,
saffron is a good aphrodisiac...tsk tsk.better be careful.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous podgykat said...

Bergen, you hoarder!! Hand over some of that priceless saffron,please, oops, pretty please please with sugar on top of it. Have a nice day, good luck with the assignments ;)

3:32 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Boxxtomoi: USJ to be exact, sir.

Hidayah: Really? Maybe this should be kept a secret to at least keep the price stable. Like Anon 9:24am said, the production of Kashmiri saffron is gonna be affected by the rain so you can imagine the supply is down. BTW, this is in the Yahoo news.

Podgykat: OK, here's the deal. I'll bring something like 300 gm next time I'm in Kuching and you invite to lunch. How about 75 gm per meal. Sounds like a good deal to me, ma'am. LOL.

5:05 PM  
Blogger norlyda said...

Hi Mr,B.
I like it when u write about nice things like food n cooking n stuff like u wrote long ago..when it comes to politics..Opps sorry.
Hei saffron,goes nice with milk..ha ha from Isketambola.
C u around Mr.B.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saffron and belly dancing? apa kaitan pulak ye? probably belly dancers like to put on bright colour costumes macam saffron kot?

12:13 PM  
Anonymous podgykat said...

Deal.Say when. ;) LOL

2:29 PM  
Blogger Theta said...

Ahh saffron! The Culinary Gold. An expensive commodity I must say. You must either have a good supplier or have an unlimited supply of moolah. :D

Love them in nasi minyak!

7:51 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Norlyda: Okay, I promise never to write anything political ever again. LOL.

12:01 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

NBB: Sounds like a good connection. Synergy. LOL. How have you been, doc?

Podgykat: I'm calling Air Asia to book a ticket. LOL.

Theta: Yes, you've got it right. How have you been, ma'am?

12:03 PM  
Blogger ubisetela said...

I've seen saffron so many times but have no idea on how to use it. I think I should buy a small packet the next time I do my grocery shopping. Now Sir, give me some easy tips on how to use it, please :)

1:00 PM  

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