Missing Ethnic food

Today’s Daily Prompt asks If you could clone one element from another city you’ve visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?

If I could bring one thing here from a city it would be ‘ethinic’ food. Being a vegetarian and living in a rural/ beach area, I don’t get any good fast food. I can’t just buy myself something pre-made and delicious for dinner. I come home from work tired and hungry; I don’t feel like cooking but I sure feel like eating something delicious.

I worked at the Guelph Farmer’s Market for over 20 years. My husband worked at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market. Every week we came home with amazing food, bread and desserts along with fresh fruits and vegetables. And we could barter with honey for those foods. One jar of honey could buy a feast for both of us.

I’ll start with Lebanese, I miss the real thing so much. The fresh stuff, not that crap they call hummus sold in grocery stores. The real thing; chick peas and tahini loaded with fresh, raw garlic; olive oil oozing out of the lid. Baba Ganouj; roasted eggplant mashed and mixed with tahini, garlic and olive oil. So fresh and delicious; nothing like the bland paste sold under the same name commercially.

Tabouli made with lots of chopped parsley , tiny diced tomatoes and olives mixed into bulgur wheat, a tangy burst of fresh lemon juice and the ever present garlic and olive oil. Fresh pitas that smelled and tasted like bread not slabs of dough.  Rice with herbs rolled up in steamed grape leaves. Diced, potatoes cooked in lots of garlic,olive oil and loaded with cumin.  Oh God I miss that!

And that was just the Lebanese stall. We had freshly made samosas and pakoras.  We had Pad Thai booth who also sold a sweet coconut rice with mango that was the perfect breakfast when I finally got my booth set up. We had real sour dough breads that were so damn good, especially toasted the next day.

And bakeries galore! Fresh homemade pies, cookies, things filled with whipped cream……. oh my gosh…. those were the days……

The farmers markets in my area are small and outside, mostly just fruits and vegetables. We don’t have many ethic people around here. The closest city with that kind of farmer’s market is an hours drive away in London, (Ontario, Canada). The market is at the heart of downtown and the traffic is awful.

I used to be already at the market, making money and bartering. Now I would have to spend the money I make working in a grocery store and drive to the city….. nope, I can’t afford that and I hate driving to London, let alone going downtown.

One day the deli in our store had vegetarian spring rolls. I bought them; they were horrible; soggy and tasteless. I’m not going to even bother trying the samosas.

I miss good, vegetarian fast food!