Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm nuts just like Mom

Mama and I motivated for a date night yesterday at Curry Mantra, a restaurant new to us, thanks to a Groupon that was due to expire this week.

OK, that sounds wrong, as if it was some huge effort for us to spend two hours alone together. Well, it was a huge effort, but not for lack of desire, but because of all the mechanics involved in arranging it. We're lucky to have friends who we swap babysitting with, so we had free babysitting, but that also means that we're more mindful of when we go out.

Ideally, we don't go out on school nights, but the expiring Groupon, our recent trip to Grammy's and our trip to the most sincere pumpkin patch in Virginia all conspired against us this time. And yes, I know that I owe you pictures from pumpkin picking, but I've been a bit busy going on dates with my wife.

And so, back to that...well, there's actually not much to tell. We talked. We laughed. I ate a Mt. Everest of vegetarian biryani.

Whenever we order Indian in, I get saag paneer and Mama gets malai kofta, but last night we both got something different and loved it. We started by not getting samosas for appetizers, then ordered different entrees. For dessert, we did split gulab jamun, which is our standard, and a bowl of pistachio ice cream bigger than Jewel's head...ok, nothing's really that big, but still, it was large.

The pistachio ice cream had real pistachios in it. Whole pistachios.

As I ate it, I thought of Mom, who loved pistachio ice cream, but before ordering would always ask if it was made with real pistachios and contained them, since often it's made with artificial flavoring and includes other cheaper nuts...walnuts, I think, but I only ever 1/2 paid attention as she was going through this ritual, because she did it every time. Every. Time.

And you know what? Mom was a smart woman. One of the smartest people I'll ever know in so many ways, and so she was right to ask. I've had the fake stuff, and it's not worth the time it takes for it to melt in your mouth. Hers wasn't a foolish consistency.

In fact, because almost all pistachio ice cream is fake or of unknown provenance, she almost always had to select another flavor, so she almost never got the same flavor twice. Her consistency created an inconsistency that added new tastes to her flavor palette. Her apparent caution caused thoughtlessness. Not a capricious and careless thoughtlessness, but one without prejudice.

Reflecting on how Mama and I had stepped outside our patterned dance steps--dinner and a night at home with the kids--into a new restaurant and new flavors, I savored the smooth consistency of the ice cream.

Papa Bradstein will ride 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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