Eating with Azad/Food week

by Nic Olson

Week One he brought me his homemade potato parathas. The next week he brought Al00 Gobi and naan. This week he brought daal, and we went to the depanneur for samosas. School is easy when you get paid and when you get Pakistani food as performance bonuses.

Azad is a single thirty-something year old man from Pakistan living in Montreal, on EI because he got laid off working in BC, and is now learning French because he didn’t want to be wasting his time. He is the perfect man. I should probably marry him before interracial marriage inevitably becomes illegal in this great liberal country of ours. We sit in the back of the class, working hard but making witty and well-timed jokes for 30 hours in a week. It is great.

This past week was the first time I had visitors from a far away land who had time, money and youth to spend. I feel like after seven months in this city, I know it pretty well. I know what tourists do, and I know some nice places to go for meals without reading a Lonely Planet book, I know where celebrities go to take dumps in public washrooms, I know where the terribly dressed Anglophone youth live. But besides a few select sights to be seen, basically all we did was eat. Poutine, smoked meat, pizza, sandwiches, crepes, bagels, baguettes, croissants, etc, etc, etc. I practiced my abilities unlike I have ever done before. And I came out on top.

I like eating more than I like mostly anything. I feel like my greatest attributes all deal greatly with eating. If there was one thing I feel I can do just as well, if not better than most, it would be this. Speed, agility, quantity, diversity, heat, etc. Being independent gives me less chance to practice my one true skill, and then when I return home for brief periods of time, my great self just isn’t ready to unleash what it once could.

But unlike many people, like those who drink too much coffee, or wine, or beer, etc., my love, ability, addiction hasn’t turned me into a food snob. I enjoy the finer meals, but I still eat $2 peanut noodles, still eat generic peanut butter, still eat garbage loaf. I feel like I’ve kept my head when it comes to food humility. Foomility. My frugality balances well with my foomility.

I’ve been telling Azad for a while that I’d bring him some of my home cooked dal; very different from his home brew, but I like to share my wealth of lentils and mostly get opinions from reliable sources that matter, if you know what I mean. But so far I’ve only bought him a few samosas, 2 for $1, and a handful of French answers. Who needs currency when you have grades and stomachs?

And now I’m back to eating mouldy bread and Pakistani scraps. Now I am back to dry puffed wheat and softening fruits. Now I am back to reality.

And it feels alright. So far. For now.