Many moons ago, I told you all about the glories of Aldi’s Tikki Masala simmer sauce. It is genius. You just cook up a bunch of vegetables and tofu (or meat, if you’re not a vegetarian like myself) and then you mix in the sauce. It’s divine literally every single time. I have rarely had a more satisfying meal at home, and I feel a bit ridiculous that a two dollar bottle of sauce could change my life so much. A month or so ago, there was a new limited edition sauce that was based on a Thai curry. I have been remarkably busy and using Hello Fresh for my food, so I hadn’t had the chance to use it yet. I finally did this weekend because I’m procrastinating making the butternut squash risotto that came in my food box this week. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ll make it tonight, though, and like all the Hello Fresh boxes that came before it, I’m sure that I’ll find it remarkable and I’ll rave about it and whatever. (Update: it was amazing.) But I wasn’t in the mood to try that, yet, so I made myself a curry. I roasted broccoli, onion, garlic, chickpeas, tofu, and kale and then mixed in the sauce. It was ridiculous. I served this over red lentils with a huge scoop of ricotta cheese. It was, I think, one to the finest things I have ever concocted. I can’t wait to go home so that I can eat my leftovers. If you haven’t, yet, reader, you simply have to go to ALDI and try all of their curry bases. They are all, in all honesty, perfect.
The Night of Counting the Years:
One of the most fascinating discoveries in archaeology is the so-called “Royal Mummy Cache.” This is a tomb in Luxor that was filled up with the mummies of great rulers from ancient Egypt. Millennia app, priests were concerned about the safety of their ancestor’s mummies, so they moved them all to a new tomb. Before the discovery, archaeologists thought that the mummies were long gone and assumed they would never be found. A family from a nearby village found the tomb and slowly sold items from it on the antiquities market. This is a deplorable practice, of course, but during the late 1800s it was hardly unusual. Besides, how can you blame a poor family for selling bits of golden jewelry that they had no interest in that could potentially save them from starvation? I used to be much more militant on my views of archaeological robbery, but the more I know of circumstances, the more understanding I become. I will not stand for the current state of terrorism funded by the illegal antiquities trade…I’m off on a tangent, but I’m looking at you, Hobby Lobby…but I can empathize. When I was last in Egypt, my friend Hassan and I often drank Stella Artois and smoked Cleopatra cigarettes in a dusty cafe near the Ramesseum. Those were wonderful times that I miss tremendously. I wish that I could go back to celebrate Christmas in my favorite place in the world. Someday I will when I have my retirement villa in Egypt. But anyways back to the topic at hand. The little cafe was owned by the Rassoul family, which is the name of the family that had found the Royal Cache. I never did find out if they were related to each other, but it seems likely that they were distant relations. The discovery of the Cache caused a sensation and, like most sensational things, a film was made about it. And so The Night of Counting the Years was made. It’s a lovely picture that moves very slowly and is surely not at all interesting to people who don’t know anything about the story. It’s done in traditional Arabic which sounds very different from Egyptian Arabic. Fascinating differences linguistically. I loved the movie because it showed the temples I have wandered through, the villages I have fallen in love with, and people who looked so similar to my friends in ancient Thebes. It made me quite homesick for Egypt and that’s probably why I enjoyed myself so much. If you’re of a mind to, the film is available online for free here.
Mitsubishi Roadside Assistance:
Reader, I am delighted by a travesty that occurred to me yesterday. I have had a low tire pressure light popping up on my car lately, so I topped it off with air a few times and the lights went away. Yesterday, though, when I got back from a walk, I noticed that my back wheel was completely and totally flat. I gulped. I’m a dainty lady, I didn’t know what to do with this. All I know about changing tires is what Lucy and Ethel did in that episode of I Love Lucy where the comedy duo thinks they are hitching a ride with a serial axe killer.
That’s a hoot. I also knew that you probably get your pants dirty, and I was not ready for any of that. So I looked at it for a long time, then I read the book that came with my car but that made as much sense as Babylonian cuneiform to me. I tried watching videos on YouTube but that did nothing to further elucidate my confusion. I went outside and I looked at the tire again, before throwing my hands up and saying lol. I called my father, but we couldn’t figure out why one of the bolt things was a different shape than the others. Turns out this is a safety feature, but I learned that much later. I recalled that I had five years worth of roadside assistance from Mitsubishi, so I downloaded an app. You type in your address and the problem and then people come help you. You don’t have to do anything but nod knowingly while they determine your issue. It’s very chic. Once there is a mechanic in route, they send you a link so that you can watch them come to you in real time. Reader, let me tell you, it was utterly fascinating watching the little truck make its way to my home. I knew exactly when to go outside. It is at times like these that I love the future. A team of gentlemen took care of the tire in a matter of minutes, engaged in light banter, and then they were on their way. It was remarkable. And I didn’t have to pay a penny. That’s service, reader! So, I was going to learn how to change a tire, but I decided that this would be pointless because people can just do it for me. Blessed.
Reader, you won’t believe what I’ve done. Please don’t gasp or laugh when you read what I did. It’s both shocking and hilarious…I joined a gym. Yes, I, me, Benjamin Phillips, am a Black Card member of Planet Fitness. But before you get too concerned, please know that I treat this membership as unlimited access to spa amenities and I will almost surely never use it for fitness or bettering my body. Planet Fitness, it turns out, gives you access to unlimited tanning bed access, hydromassage beds, massage chairs, and this wondrous machine that vibrates your body into fitness and also loosens your muscles. Of course there are treadmills and weights and those things…but…lol ew. Can you imagine sweating with a bunch of other people? That’s really not my scene. But I know that I need some kind of sun exposure to keep myself from going insane, so a friend and I looked into the best places to get a tan that didn’t have some ridiculous closing time, like 4 o’clock. So, we went to Planet Fitness and one of the employees took us on a tour. She showed us all the exercise equipment which we politely nodded at, but she quickly became disgusted with us after she asked what our fitness goals were. “To be tan,” I replied, quite seriously. She scoffed somewhat but controlled her rage and gave us the tour of the massage chairs, tanning beds, and body vibrator things. This looked delightful so we signed up at once. A lot of people have used tanning beds, but I have only ever tanned in my vineyard, by the pool in California, or at the beach in Nice. I have never gone into a machine for a few minutes. I was nervous, but from the second that bright light hit my skin, I knew that I was in the place for me. Yes, cancer and blah blah blah, but we’re all dying of cancer at some point, aren’t we? At least I will have a nice color to my skin and no seasonal depression! I will go once a week or so I suppose. It’s such a blissful escape from the world. For the time you’re alone in the booth, you don’t have to think about anything or anybody, it’s just you and solitude and some fake sunbeams. It’s perfect.
Simply D’lish Lemon Ricotta Cookies at Whole Foods:
The other night, I was literally dying in class. It was endless and I was coughing and I was simply not in the mood to do anything but curl up under a heated blanket and force my cats to sit with me. Instead I was in class for five and a half hours. Don’t get me wrong, the class that I’m in is interesting and incredibly beneficial — but there are times when you would rather do absolutely anything else than what you’re supposed to be doing. That was one of those nights. Needless to say, the second we had a dinner break, I sped out of the parking lot of Upper Iowa University. I was making my way to McDonald’s for my usual: a large fry, a side salad with southwest dressing, and a large Americano. I’m salivating right now at the thought, but as I was driving, the thought of a salad at Whole Foods came into my mind and I took a right instead of going straight. I was thriving at the salad bar as I loaded a box up full of bitter greens and cheeses and falafel and green chickpeas and tofu and eggs and beets and mushrooms and seeds and sesame crunchy things and whatever else I desired. I took the salad to the checkout and gasped a bit when the bill was over thirteen dollars. I shrugged; I needed that salad. As I was paying, I saw a cookie sitting by the register. It was lemon and ricotta and I was already paying an arm and a leg for dinner, so I decided to treat myself to dessert. “Oh my god,” I muttered, after I took my first bite. The flavor of the cookie was intensely lemony and soft and perfect. There’s really not all that much I can say about a cookie, I realize, but reader, that cookie was the epitome of perfection. I’m going to go grab a dozen of them tomorrow. I am obsessed!