These are some of the things I have in my file cabinet:
a pepper grinder; sea salt; kosher salt; an unopened jar of Trader Joe’s unsalted crunchy peanut butter; wax paper; a good paring knife; high-quality plastic forks, spoons and knives, a couple of dozen boxes of heat-and-serve Indian vegetable packets; microwave-safe containers, and four types of tea: lapsang souchon; keemum; Irish breakfast and Constant Comment.
In my refrigerator I have lime pickle, hot mango chutney, sweet mango chutney, tamarind chutney, blackberry preserves and spicy mustard.
I usually have some chocolate and some pretzels around.
I’m a very adventurous eater and will try anything once. I’ve even tried raw sea slug. Twice. But I never want to have to go down to the cafeteria and eat school food.
I last ate school food forty years ago when I was in junior high school. I hear it has improved a good deal, but my now-ancient experiences prevent me from finding out first hand.
One of my great pleasures at work is getting out of the building. I do it every chance I get, but it is especially nice on warm, sunny days. On those days I go for a walk and buy lunch.
The neighborhood in which I work is not known for its many quality dining options but there are two decent ones. If I walk down Purdy St. to Starling Ave. and turn right I will eventually come to a better-than-average taqueria run by the parents of two girls who attend my school, but I usually turn to the left and quickly come to Desi Sawad, my somewhat friendly neighborhood pan-South Asian steam-table restaurant and take-out shop.
I say somewhat friendly because I had been getting take-out from there for about two years before the woman behind the counter said anything more than how much I owed her for my order. On that occasion she said, “Do you want naan?” I said yes and she never asked again. She just gives me my curried goat.
I always order a couple of the vegetables of the day. I’m partial to the okra in a spicy sauce and the black lentils, but the meat I order is always their delicious curried goat.
Today wasn’t very warm, but it was sunny and the energetically gusting winds of the past few days had finally worn down and were resting, plus I had three periods in a row without students, so I took a walk and turned left.
It had been a month or so since I’d been in Desi Sawad and something had changed. I was greeted warmly.
“Oh! Welcome back Mr. Goat!”
I really need to order something different tomorrow.