Egg Cracklet! (Crackers!)
IT was my houseboy, Kenji, who introduced me to the wonders of the Filipino market up the street.
Oh, what fun to watch him – in his undersized tank top embroidered with cupcakes that he’d begged me to buy for him at Justice for Girls (How could I deny him?) and the sarong I’d fashioned from a vintage Care Bear bedsheet (eBay!) – as he’d prance merrily down the aisles, loading my shopping cart with the exotic foods he remembered from growing up on his island home (ammonia duck eggs, purple yam biscuits, and his very favorite, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos curd).
I couldn’t help but laugh seeing him scamper to and fro, hiding and capering among displays of fish sauce and durian (often playfully holding up a pair of the oversized prickly fruit in front of his loins), and of course chattering gaily with the other men’s houseboys, always excitedly sharing snippets of gossip – trivial and ridiculous to you and me, but of the utmost import to Kenji and his kaibigans, their word for “friends.”
“Where is Nimuel this week?”
“I hear he cut his finger making lumpia, a type of fried spring roll popular among our people.”
“I have tickets to Katy Perry for next month!”
“OMG! You do not!”
“One dollar nineteen per pound for Seabass Goo? I am glad I do not pay the food-bills!”
“Ja ja ja!”
Tuesday was the day when our coterie of stoic, stout men of means – all in our crisp white linen suits and stiff Panama hats – converged on the marketplace with our happy-go-lucky charges, snatching up raw milkfish and cooked canned pork, cinderblock-sized bricks of glass noodles and florescent pink hot dogs, fish sauce by the gallon, salted cassava rind and bag after bag of prawn-flavored crackers – a sort of cracker delicacy flavored with prawn, similar to our Andy Capp Hot Fries, but not as spicy and with a distinct prawn-like flavor – for the houseboys to prepare the week’s meals.
Okay, so I go down the snack and mung bean cake aisle and I see these things:
And it strikes me that the thing in the corner looks like one of those stupid Mr. Men characters or something from one of those stylized animated shorts from the early years of “Sesame Street” that they don’t show any more.
I mean, look at it:
Can’t you just see this thing explaining the concept of cooperation or teaching the letter Y?
What kills me is they get rid of quality stuff like this and the last twenty minutes of the show is freaking “Elmo’s World.”
Jesus Christ, no wonder our kids are in trouble.