Saturday, May 24, 2008

Papaya Pineapple Salsa (Page 897)

  • Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Yano, Irene, Phil O, Ben W, and Alp
  • Recipe Rating: A-

The main course of our meal last Saturday was fish tacos, and we needed some salsa to go on them. The salsa recipes in The Book are running a little low, but I hadn't yet made this one. This salsa came out delicious! The papaya made an excellent salsa base, both flavor-wise and texturally. Pineapple provided a refreshing and bold contrast to the papaya. The lime juice, scallions, and garlic balanced out the dish perfectly. Everyone seemed very satisfied with this salsa -- they piled it high on their fish tacos! (Cooking bonus: this is an excellent forum for practicing your knife skills. Matty chopped all the papaya, and by the end he had perfected his 1/4 inch dice!) There is no heat to this salsa, but if you are looking for something with a kick, I think this salsa could support a bit of minced serrano. As it is though, it would be delicious not only on tacos or chips, but also atop simply prepared fish, or chicken (or anything done with jerk seasoning). The fruit salsas in The Book have been very good so far, and this one was no exception.

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except that the ratio of papaya to other ingredients is twice as high in The Book as it is online.

After several days of working hard with V in the University of Chicago math department (plus plenty of hanging out with V and Shihchi: eating, playing Wii, etc...), the work part of my Chicago trip has ended, and it is on to the party portion of the trip. Deniz's bridal shower and bachelorette party are both today, and I am excited!

The first bridal shower I ever went to was the summer after I graduated from Stanford. I was about to move across the country to start graduate school at MIT. The bridal shower was for my best friend, at her family's house in Oregon. I was living with them at the time, helping out with wedding stuff and hanging out with Emilee before she tied the knot. The shower was gorgeous: it was outdoors in lovely Oregon summer weather, with flowers everywhere and delicious food. The memory of that shower that is burned most deeply into my brain, though, was a conversation I had with one of the guests. I was chatting with a woman, probably in her late forties or early fifties, when she suddenly took my hand in hers and said to me very sympathetically, "Don't worry honey. You'll find someone eventually. You are very pretty." I was shocked. I was 22 years old. I didn't know that already landed me in the old spinster category. Intrigued, I continued talking to her. Eventually it came out in the discussion that I was about to start my PhD in math at MIT. She looked at me with wide eyes, and asked, very honestly, "Why?" I told her the truth: I love math, I love teaching, I want to be an academic, etc... but my explanation was met with the blankest of stares. Since the truth wasn't panning out, I tried an outrageous lie: "Well, actually I am going to MIT to find a husband." "Oh, ok," she said with a sigh of recognition, "That seems like a very good idea."

I am 28 now, with that PhD in hand but no ring on my finger. I wish I could chat with that woman again -- I am curious if she would think I have failed!


Anonymous said...

Unless she objects to cohabitation I would say she would say you did just fine! I found your "husband" response to her ironic, though, when you consider the relatively large number of female math grad students who actually do find husbands in math departments. This is not altogether surprising and from a feminist point of view, desirable, I think. In my case, for example, well meaning friends and relatives who are always attempting to set me up with a "lawyer" or "businessman" in expectation of a good match are completely unaware of the trials and tribulations faced by female math academics searching for a meaningful relationship and, in my case, ending up in drama filled messes. How is it that you explain to them the hard truth that unless you're with someone who shares your educational values (read: is not just in it for the money) and is devoted to academic or intellectual pursuits of some form, you're going to be bored, frustrated, disappointed, and I hate to say it, contemptuous.
As a result of one's "pickiness," they think one is abnormal. Recently, a great aunt called me, and I quote, an "abnormal lesbo freak" because I was uninterested in dating a rich lawyer from a "good family." Never mind that the picky label is completely unfair, because I'm about as far from being a gold digger as possible. Instead, I'm looking for someone with intellligence, a sense of humor, good character and a sense of morality, who will treat me well (and vice versa). She responded by saying I'll never get married. I told her so be it, my self esteem would not be the least bit affected...
Sorry for the rant but your entry hit me like lightning.
I should start my own blog...
Thanks, Teena, for the always interesting observations.

roger said...

Whoa, your recipe is perfect for the bachelorette party we're planning for our friend. I'm sure your recipe will be a big hit among our friends.

Teena said...

Yeah, I always aimed not to end up with a mathematician myself -- I figured things would be easier that way. Mathematicians have such limited geographic flexibility, and being part of a math couple almost guarantees you some number of years of living apart. But I found that, like you said, relationships have been easier with mathematicians. It is nice to be with someone who completely understands the quirks and stresses of this job, and who shares similar ideals.

I can't believe your great aunt called you that! That's awful... I occasionally get comments about how I am unmarried too. It always seemed odd to me -- it really isn't anyone else's business when/if I get married!

Anonymous said...

thanks teena, for responding. I read my comment/rant after posting and felt just a tad waco.
Anyway, I love your blog so keep up the good work! If you write a book it might just turn out to be a best-seller!