Lithuanian Vindaloo/Galangal Stew

One of my dad's housemates is Lithuanian. He is a renowned naturopath and physician, and knows about the beneficial health properties of many exotic foods and drinks known to man.

Yesterday, my dad told me that dinner had been prepared by his housemate for some friends from Lithuania and me. Actually, that's not what he said. He told me that he "felt awkward being the only English-speaker at the table", and requested my presence. The guilt trip worked, and I soon walked to the dinner table to see what meal awaited me. I stumbled upon this:

This self-named "vindaloo stew" incorporated a medley of fresh picked organic vegetables from the garden with an almost curry-like sauce. From far away, it actually looked pretty decent. We blessed our meal for 5 minutes, and began to eat.

From the first bite, all I could taste was a bitter, wasabi-like horseradish taste. The combination of spicy dried vindaloo and heaps of fresh ginger-like and peppery galangal stopped me dead in my tracks. My body begged me not to take another bite, and I began to tear up from the spice. I looked around the table to see everyone else's reaction to the seasoning, and couldn't help but notice that my dad was downing it with large bites. Lithuanian eyes gleamed at me in hope that I was enjoying this meal. I sheepishly smiled, and took a few more bites. I was reminded of a wasabi eating contest we had in Korea, when my "Hyong" (host family brother) ate a hunk of wasabi the size of a ping pong ball  for $20.

I couldn't continue eating, but I needed to show signs of politeness and grace since the meal was generously prepared for us. I quickly thought of three strategies:

  1. Angle my spoon towards me, so I could take empty spoonfuls, put them in my mouth, and smile knowingly.
  2. Pick out the butternut squash and broccoli and eat only those two ingredients since they masked the shoe-like flavor of the dish.
  3. Accidentally drop my bowl off the table onto my foot, and then politely excuse myself to leave and go to the hospital and get stitches.

Note: Strategy #3 was quickly discarded.

After the meal, my dad asked me what I thought of it. I responded truthfully about the seasoning, and he remarked how it would, "Clear my sinuses," and was very healthy for me.

The point of this post is that no matter how healthy a food or ingredient is, no matter the number of anti-cancer properties it contains, no matter the massive amount of energy gained from eating it; it only can affect you if it tastes good enough to finish the bowl.

I probably would've extended my life by several days if I had finished my bowl of vindaloo galangal stew, but looking back, it's definitely was not worth it.