Friday night, 10:00 pm. Up since 6:00am, full day with my ESL junior-high schoolers, afterschool hours spent tutoring around my kitchen table, last kid gone by seven, dinner served at eight, everything cleaned up, exhausted-beyond belief....culinary martyr that I am I decide to make.... goulash! I'd been doing a lot of stew-y, things all week....pulled pork with pozole in chipolte-adobo sauce, braised short ribs, chicken cacciatore, lamb and white beans etc... why not goulash?
A recent trip to a tiny Hungarian place in College Point, Queens, "Taste of Hungary," a few weeks ago had inspired me and I had my heart set on whipping up an Eastern-European extravaganza. The plan was to make my 'lash the night before, let the flavors meld in my fridge, and serve it for dinner the following night with a crisp cucumber salad, sauteed wild mushrooms, and some toasted barley.
So here I am, basically crying from exhaustion, my husband repeatedly yelling about what a nut I am, swearing he'd be happy with a lifeftime of turkey sandwiches if it meant not hearing me whine (how bad a life would that be?), begging me to just go to bed...but NO. I must make my goulash.
I brown my beef cubes with some onion and garlic, pour a few generous shakes of imported Hungarian sweet paprika and a quick scatter of the hot, stir it around to brown it a bit. Next, a few cups of water, quick stir, cover, turn around to rinse some dishes. I de-lid a few moments later and am greeted with.....WORMS!Tons of them! Floating upon the surface of my lovely goulash.
I pry the tops off my recently purchased paprikas, shake the cans a bit and there they are...squirming bitsy larvae-like worms...meal worms, maggots, not quite sure but they appear to be cousins of the crittters that turn up in my King Arthur bags on the exact day I decide to make Christmas cookies year after year. I hate these bloody things!
I feel like I am going to cry. SICK PART: I actually contemplate skimming them off for a millesecond. Who would know? Hell, friends in the PeaceCorps have eaten far worse. Protein sources, they'd say. I am a girl who combs the tassles on her rugs, vacuums every other day, dusts the vacuum CLEANER, cleans the condiment jar caps with boiling water..there is no way I am going to eat a soup in which bugs were macerating. I am so annoyed that I wasted all this time cubing meat, peeling and chopping potatoes and carrots etc...
What annoys me more is that my husband will not allow me to flush the remains down the toilet which has been standard practice in my parents' house for as long as I can remember. Instead he walks down the block of our Queens neighborhood and dumps it down the sewer, which he argues, is where it will end up anyway. I think this is weird.
1. Where do these pests come from? How do I prevent them? Explain maggots showing up in dead flesh while you are at it, if at all possible. I'm fascinated.
2. Where do you dispose of liquidy, gooey things that have gone bad?
Nothing worse than wasted effort.
One Good Thing: Since I had no dinner prepared, we went to Sun Young Spring in downtown Flushing and continued our week-long soupy fest with big steaming bowls of spicy beef and noodle soup.
Edited by ZenFoodist, 01 February 2003 - 08:39 PM.