these are the posts tagged ‘food review’:


cerelac

i mentioned cerelac in my last post about powdered food, and then i thought: how come i haven’t written about something so portuguese?!

every country has its own way to feed babies, and for a while in portugal, the staple was a fortified, sweet cereal concoction that toddlers inevitably fell in love with. the texture and taste are so reminiscent of a certain period of our childhood that nowadays, i think it’s mostly consumed by nostalgic adults who can’t get its catchy jingle out of their heads… :P

the whole thing was brought to portugal by egas moniz, our medicine nobel. he was a big fan of nestlé’s ideas and got the licensing to produce this particular kind of baby food in his hometown of avanca, where years prior he had set up a milk powder plant. over the years, he adapted cerelac’s formula to the national tastes and started using milk from the azores.

over 80 years later, cerelac is still being made there and exported to lots of countries, delighting children grown-ups all around the world. :)

a week of powdered food

a while back, we spent a week eating just meal replacements, for the sake of the experiment. i love self-experimenting and stuff like soylent intrigued me… so after some reddit research, we ordered a bunch of jimmy joy and just went for it!

on a monday morning bright and early, we made our first plenny shake with lukewarm water, adjusting the quantities to our daily needs.

i confess the taste was my biggest fear — would it be too sweet? too grainy or gritty? turns out, neither! they all taste vaguely like oatmeal with hints of fruit or chocolate and definitely don’t feel weird or too sweet. the consistency is that of a thickened milkshake, and the best description we could come up with for the taste was “watered-down cerelac” — not a bad thing in my book! we tried all their current flavors: banana, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, mango, plain and cappuccino (with coffee), and even mixed a bit of leftover powder to make a sort of tutti-frutti flavor. :D they were all ok, some more true to their flavor than others, but never overpowering or off-putting. banana was our favorite, with vanilla and chocolate being close seconds.

we had 3 meals per day and tried to space our meals more or less 5 hours apart, so we could have a break in the middle of the day, and ended up not feeling particularly hungry at any time. turns out, drinking a thick milkshake can be quite filling! we drank ours in the terrace, enjoying the sunshine and getting some extra vitamin D in the process.

so… did we like it? unexpectedly, yes — a lot! :D

after giving it a try, i can definitely understand the allure on different levels, but especially if someone lacks the time, skills or motivation to cook. as every adult who leaves their parent’s home quickly discovers, cooking (and cleaning!) is a time-consuming activity which you end up doing most days of your life. so by not having to shop, cook or clean, one can easily save some time. it also makes it super easy to make sure you get all the nutrition and calories you need (and not more), which can be hard if you’re normally not in control of the things you eat, or you’re always on the go.

actually not having to worry about food, made me realize how much i worried about food on a normal week. even with our very streamlined meals (we mostly eat eggs for breakfast or soup for dinner, for instance), i would randomly find myself thinking about whether i had something prepared, or whether i had remembered to defrost the soup… before reminding myself that i didn’t have to do that.

some friends asked us whether it was boring, and it’s hard to say. i like eating, and i enjoy a good meal, but if i’m being honest, 80% of the meals we eat are nothing to write home about — just a way to get nutrition in our bodies. so eating the same thing over and over for a while doesn’t really bother me — but i guess it could be different for different people.

another thing we were asked was whether it was expensive, and honestly, i don’t think so. i ordered €80’s worth of meal replacements which i thought would last us a week, but we ended up using less than that after adjusting for nutrition, so maybe €70/week would have been a better estimation. my grocery bill for a week of meals for 2 doesn’t usually go that high… but in the end, i don’t think the difference is that significant, especially when you factor in the time saved.

the one thing i didn’t like about it was all the plastic packaging. as someone who shops mostly in the farmer’s market, i’m able to avoid most wrappings and just shove produce into my basket or re-use the same plastic bags until they fall apart. but with meal replacements, that’s impossible and it bothers me. so for now, a compromise: we’re using them as planters for all the cuttings we’re growing at the moment, extending the packaging’s lifespan until they end up in the recycling bin.

the plants seem to like it too! :)

ps – funny enough, on the week we did this experiment, our gas company decided to do some impromptu repairs which left us gas-less for most of the day. no problem though — we didn’t need it!

shanghainese food

my teacher decided to present me today with a trip to the shanghai museum for lots of historical learning, and a traditional shanghainese dinner. shanghainese cuisine is typically a little sweet, and uses quite a bit of soy sauce… promising, heh?

she ordered a bit of everything, so i thought i’d do another yummy/bah test :)
salty chicken

salty chicken: hum… mamahuhu, just so so. it was a bit dry and cold… that’s probably the way it is supposed to be, but it’s not really my thing.

a kind of tofu

kaofu: a sort of spongy tofu, it was good.

meat in black pepper sauce

meat in black pepper sauce: errrr, it was good, but somehow i don’t think this is a shanghainese delicacy? perhaps she just wanted to be nice and offer us something a bit more familiar. it was quite hard to eat with the chopsticks, but we made it!

egg and shells


egg and shells: sea shells in a semi-solid jell-o-like egg mixture. a bit strange. i still don’t know what to think of it, not my favourite.

fried fish

deep fried fish: simple dish, but quite good! also a bit hard to eat with chopsticks :)

bean curd soup

bean curd soup: when i looked at this soup, i was expecting the worse… it looked quite consistent and i was fearing the flavours might be a bit too strong for me… but actually, they were just right. the bean curd strips were so soft they melted in your mouth… yummy!

pine tree fish

spiky fish: i don’t know the real name of this dish, but it’s something to do with pine. maybe pine tree fish? anyway, it’s yummy, probably the best of the bunch. they take the bones out, shape the fish in this spiky form, then cover it with flour and fry. in the end, they top it all with a sweet (and slightly tangy?) sauce. it’s soooo good.

stinky tofu

stinky tofu: i’m not sure this is a shanghainese dish but my teacher made a point in making me try it. paulo has this rule: “try everything at least once”, and so he did, bravely. oh, his face was quite priceless! :D i tried it too, but frankly, like paulo, i was also expecting something exceptional that would make up for the horrid smell. the flavor is actually quite bland and honestly… blergh. i still don’t get it how can someone like this stuff. oh well…

stinky tofu

so now you know what to expect. my teacher says this restaurant is quite good, so if you’re in the mood for some shanghainese delicacies, it’s a little place called farm restaurant in kangping road, 220 (near huashan road).