Working in a clothes shop, the pre-Eid period is always a busy time for me. Meal-skippingly busy in fact. Our MGM branch has been opening 15 hours a day, and when there are customers (which is always), you can't take more than a few seconds to eat.

I read somewhere that for a quick energy boost, celebrities use peanut butter smeared on a slice of apple (the celebs that aren't using high-grade cocaine or prescription meds, anyway), so I decided to try it on a Granny Smith. Good results. Keeps me full, gives a nice sugar hit, tastes like a poor man's Waldorf Salad. The main benefit to me is that it provides an acceptable way to eat peanut, which until now I've been spooning directly from the jar to my mouth.




Eid is coming. Today I woke up to the sound of a bleating goat, coming from a neighbour's garden. That's a noise that always make me wince, partly because it's such a piteous cry, but mostly because it reminds me of a moral failure; eating meat is one of the few conscious decisions I make to go directly against what I believe. I'm kind to animals. I try to shoo mosquitoes out of the window rather than gas them. But I also eat animals, ones which have bonds with their young and can feel pain, and by doing so condone horrible farming practices that are bad for the animals, the consumer and the environment. 

I like to think I usually do what I know is right. But I eat meat, and if I do ever think about it, I try to block the thoughts. Not a good sign, when your conscience tells you something and the beast within drowns it out by banging its metaphorical steak knife on the table. Either I don't care enough, or I'm not strong enough, to resist meat. When there is so much other good food, and so many obvious examples of people ignoring their moral compass leading down a nasty path.

There's no difference, of course, between the little goat next door that will be slaughtered for a celebration and the cow that was killed for our beef stew tonight (yes, I am going to eat it after writing this. It smells delicious). In fact that goat has a few days of fresh air and being fed well, more than my poor cow probably ever experienced. 

I hate my instinctive "Awww!" when I hear the bleating in the morning - what hypocrisy, when I then tuck into a bacon sandwich. It's not that I think people eating animals is wrong. What is wrong is practicing what your conscience tells you not to, and the fact is, when I saw the below illustration by Pawel Kuczynski, I looked away. Ugh. (By the way, if you feel like indulging in a bit of first world shame, go see Kuczynski's portfolio; he has a drawing for just about every modern example of callousness and vice.)


Last week saw National Fries Day in the USA. Often a divisive topic, everyone has their own opinion on what makes a good chip. I'm firmly in the skin-on, slightly soggy, long and thin camp, although I like a good wedge as well. (The nice people at Elevation Burger do me specially soggy chips on request.)

There are too many bad fries out there, and quite a few that are just meh, so I often end up skipping them, even when I'm jonesing for a potato fix. I'm looking forward to the opening of New York Fries here, though. I haven't tried them but they promise hand-cut, made to order, skin-on chips. I'm ready to be impressed.)

Maybe it's because so many restaurants neglect their chips, concentrating on the "star" of the dish, that some people are happy to grab a handful of a dining partner's fries. I've seen this happen, fries being treated like a non-food that's on the table for anyone and everyone. They're not. They're on my plate, for a reason. You don't see this with salad. You wouldn't lean over and casually slice off a mouthful of my steak. Don't nick my chips.


Here's a glimpse of what your gastronomic life could be like if you had limitless funds (and no qualms about spending them on consumables).

This delicious-looking infographic, created by FinancesOnline, is a foodie must-see, whatever your thoughts might be on such unsurpassed decadence. Some of the items on there will make you drool, and it might be shocking to see what's spent on certain foods (although you should know that a fair few of these dishes or ingredients were created to raise funds for charity).


How much would you spend on a dessert, or a steak? I really love food - see all previous posts, and almost every conversation I ever had - but could I ever fork out the equivalent of a small country's GDP to experience anything so transitory as an ice-cream, no matter how delicious? (And, in this case - see below - a freebie that way surpasses any Happy Meal toy.)

Of course, this moral quandary disappears if someone else is paying...

The Most Expensive Dishes In The World: 10 Gourmet Alternatives To Everyday Food
This is an edited collection of Foolish Mistakes I Have Made when going out for food. I hope my idiocy will save you some embarrassment, and stains.

1. To my shame, this first one was an error I made having already started this series. Should I have known better than to wear a pashmina to a buffet? Of course, especially during Ramadan, when my short-sleeved dress wouldn't be decent without it. Did I dip the shawl in the gravy? I surely did. I smelled like lamb all night.

2. Short skirts. Is there ANY chance you might be sitting at a bar? Even a tapas bar? Or waiting in low-slung comfy chairs while waiters get your table ready? Then say no to the miniskirt. (This is one of my most frequent errors - the number of times I've had to improvise some coverage with a clashing napkin.)

3. A belted dress, into which I only just fit, to a function with unlimited artisanal cheeses unexpectedly on offer. Never assume you won't be eating much.

4. Wedges to Left Bank, only to have to park by the museum and walk awkwardly up the hill.

5. Heels to a beach do. The way I look when I am trying to extricate a stiletto with each step is only funny for so long.




We went for Iftar at The Chedi this week; held in a tented area just off The Restauarant and it's beautifully cosy and atmospheric. They've managed to take the intimate, zen feel of The Chedi but keep it traditional and highly inviting.

Laban and a tiny glass pot of dates was on the table for the breaking of the fast, along with an amazingly refreshing drink which I am pretty sure was karkadeh. I tried fasting some years ago during Ramadan. It was VERY VERY HARD. I did want to experience it, but the difficulty of carrying on a normal life without food or water in daylight hours was more than I could have imagined. The worst was the thirst. The first sip of a drink at sundown I can still remember, and it was on my mind as I had this drink, cooling and rosewatery.

This being the Chedi, I wasn't sure if the buffet dishes were going to be a more contemporary take on Iftar, and I was happy that it was very much traditional fare; some things shouldn't be messed with. Simple dishes, all beautifully made and packed with flavour, although there were some stand-outs: the stuffed vine leaves, a dish you find everywhere, had some elusive and unusual ingredient I couldn't put my finger on. I had eight, trying to work it out...allspice? Cloves? Something warmingly delicious, anyway. And the lentil soup was the best I've ever had, layers of complex flavour and a perfect rustic texture. 

We lingered longer than the usual Iftar time. The Chedi always makes me feel uncharacteristically peaceful and quiet. Also, I'm going to add "must have actual trees" to my list of What Makes The Perfect Restaurant. 


I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of utilisation. Proper use of space, exploitation of local resources, not letting something worthwhile go to waste. You know what's just sitting around, waiting to do something useful? Children.

I know families with kids are particularly concerned with keeping them entertained during the summer holidays. This initiative from the Shangri-La looks like a brilliant thing to set them doing, with potentially excellent returns for parents. Start your little Michelin star off this week at the Shangri-La, and look forward to gourmet breakfasts and innovative puddings as well-earned repayment for those years of night feeds and tantrum-soothing.

Have you ever watched Junior Masterchef? It's inspiring! Pink-cheeked eight year olds cheerfully preparing venison emulsions and juniper berry gremolata. This is the kind of creative, useful skill I would hope to nurture in any child of mine. (I'm playing it down - in fact training will be mandatory and rigorous and will replace regular education entirely.)





FatSu is now on Instagram: @heyfatsu. Sometimes, a food moment can't just be saved up until I have time for the process of careful crafting that each of these posts undergoes.

I like the Explore page on Instagram. That, and hashtags, has led me to plenty of follow-worthy accounts, with some brilliant names, including clean food advocates @MissVegangster and @HerbiWhore. 

I'm also loving the global element of food discovery. Highlighting those packed-with-flavour dehydrated fruits used by the Mexican chef at Rumba here in Muscat brought me to Korean account @Dehydration_Nation, who posted the photo below. Those guys really love dehydrated fruit. (I'm still working on a better name for 'dehydrated'. Superessenced? Concentasted?)

From my use of #latinfood, I've found and followed @MyLatinWifeCantCook. That one is sweet: it's by a husband who is learning to cook the dishes his wife grew up with. 

I always check who's liked my pictures. Once it was SexyFood TV, a Kickstarter project that hasn't made it yet if you're interested. And @PlayDohLab, who liked an image I posted of a playdoh pie. Their account is for the hardcore playdohers - there's playdoh sushi, and even a Bring Back Our Girls playdoh cutout.

@WestCoastFoodie liked a pasta post of mine featuring lovely roast tomatoes, and now I follow her for beautiful and varied food photos, and every so often a pun-filled caption (latest post: "Udon know how much I love noodles"). 

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