The gimcrack gourmand

For reasons any Punjabi would likely understand (and as a child of Lahore I claim some modest appreciation), pork curries are comparatively rare. But up here in the kitchen of the High Doganate, the problem what to do with your leftover fried pork-belly rinds arose last night, and I set about solving it in a characteristically Subcontinental way.

More candidly, I should admit that my approach was somewhat “fusion,” and that the product of my galley labour might be more accurately described as a “White Trash Pork Dal Masala.”

From greater India we get the spices (very cheap), and the patience to let things bubble away at very low heat. From America come ingredients that may be discharged from cans. We (in the sense of, I) drowned the rinds in a tin of Habitant pea soup, then simmered for an hour with whatever came to hand at half-attention: ground cumin, coriander, fenugreek, blackpepper, mustardseed, and turmeric to be sure; and little dollops of garlic and Naga chilli pastes. Oh, and a crushed dried lime leaf or two. All they need is time, to mingle.

That’s it. Serve in an elegant flat bowl, with store-boughten chapati, or better, fresh bread of one’s own manufacture. … (It was delicious.)

True, I cannot hope to compete with Father Zed as a culinary blogger — I am terrified of anything that requires French skills — but I’m struck by how well one can eat in relative penury, here in the Greater Parkdale Area, if one will muck about. I have no sympathy for these poor people, often with feral-looking kids, hanging about the hamburger franchises, when they could do much better at home for much less than half the price. And raise those children with memories of a family dinner table, and civil conversation, after the Angelus, and grace.

A Pennsylvanian correspondent reports that one must have the experience of a supermarket queue, behind a fat lady with food stamps on guvmint “pay day,” to properly appreciate the welfare state. “It cures one of tolerance for the whining of the poor.”

Surely part of our Christendom Restoration Project should consist of catechizing the impecunious on the art of good living, within their permanently limited means. We should also revive the distinction between the deserving and undeserving of our charitable ministrations, on which Saint Paul was clear.