Monday, 7 March 2011

Fab Foods and Flash Floods

Appetising and salubrious vegetarian food may be widely available in Malaysia, but not so at my workplace, where choices are rather limited. One can only take so much spaghetti napolitana each week. And so it was a blessing to me that I discovered Omfood, a vegetarian food delivery service, in mid-January. I was introduced to its services by my fellow vegetarians at work, and this helped alleviate some of my greenie guilt over the issue of the fuel miles that my food had to travel. Since the motorcycle delivery boys were already delivering lunch tiffins to my colleagues and to homes and offices in the area, my subscription to their service would be consistent with the principles of fuel economy.

I haven't been disappointed by the food either. Lunch became something to look forward to. Each day, I can expect to receive generous portions of spiced rice, low-sodium curries and wholesome, delicious vegetables.

And so when I received a call from the food service operators 2 weeks ago that the food delivery service would be suspended for a week due to staff-related issues, I was a bit dismayed. I didn't want to have to go back to eating insipid pasta after 2 months of terrific sambhars, rasams and vegetables.

I didn't go back to cafeteria pasta. I started packing my own bento lunches to work for the entire week instead. The result? My colleagues are never going to let me live this down.

My friends could hardly believe that their tough-talking, camouflage-trousered buddy packed these dainty hearts and stars for breakfast.

The cherry-tomato balloons, cucumber blossoms and cheese-and-carrot stars had my friends laughing and exclaiming in surprise.

... and this is the chain store that inspired such whimsy in my packed lunches. Daiso's kitchenware department has a wide variety of bento kits, cookie cutters and fancy fruit picks that makes lunch-making an art form.

The food-themed novelty erasers at Daiso's office and school supplies section also provided bento-packing ideas.

Only the Japanese can make dying vermin look cute. It's all in the packaging.

Bento boxes aside, there's nothing to stop me from playing with my food. I made this to cheer up That Special Someone:

"I am the Darth Vadai! Come with me to the Dhall Side!"
That Special Someone was suitably amused.

Food preparation and making my own lunches, however, will never supplant volunteering as my pastime of choice.

I arrived at the SPCA on Saturday afternoon after football practice to find that Rose, Sarah and several other volunteers have already bathed and tickwashed most of the dogs.

Adoption rates remain encouraging, and this adorable silver kitten that Amelia and I played with found a new home the same day.

Here's a photo of Amelia taken the previous week, with the panda puppy that was surrendered together with his sleepy brown twin. I was informed both puppies have been brought home for fostering by one of our volunteers.

Banjo Dog insisted on following me around the shelter even though I informed him that I would not be giving him a bath. There was a definite chill in the air and it threatened to pour with rain.

Look how overcast the sky was! The raintrees behind the shelter creaked and moaned in the strong winds.

... And rain like the clappers it did! I continued cleaning cages and kennels unfazed...

... Until the water level started rising rapidly. Much of the shelter is below street level, and despite all the improvements we have carried out to our drainage system, the combination of mud, silt and stormwater exceeded the capacity of our drains, thus resulting in a flash flood.

I was stranded in the food preparation area by the rising floodwaters, and cleared a space on a ledge for the dogs and I to stand on. Here I am huddled together with the dogs for warmth. Somebody, please send us an Ark!

Fortunately, flash floods are named flash floods for a reason. We have kept our drains clear of obstructions and the water levels went down after an hour or two, leaving behind a frightful mess of foul-smelling mud and litter. I didn't want the shelter to be dirty on a Sunday morning, when large numbers of visitors are regularly expected, and so I got to work cleaning and disinfecting the shelter. Everything smelled fresh as a daisy when I was done.

Global Animal Welfare Solutions and SPCA Selangor will be proceeding with our Animal Welfare Legislation and CSI Workshop on 19th and 20th March. Participants at the course will receive a folder containing the current legislation and print outs of the power point presentations and a selection of blank forms and templates along with an 'CSI Animal Welfare' baseball cap and a certificate. Come book your place and learn animal welfare investigation techniques from the experts!
(I'm not one of the experts, I'm just the boring old fart who does the presentation on Malaysian animal protection legislation).


Emily said...

wHoaH!! I did a double take when I recognised the blog name ...... but the icon picture!!??!! bento-ing?!!??

and whimsy stars and hearts and food picks!!??!!

Guess lOVe is in the air and change is always possible! aiseh! I have a ton of these kawaii stuff. say lah so, and I could have given you some!

and you are so.. so.. so.. lovable! great job as usual at SPCA Ampang!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Hey hey....boring old farts don't carry cute bento to work! That silver kitten is soooooo cute. Glad she's found a furrrrever home. purrrr.....meow!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Emily,
It was thanks to your blog and the Bento links in it that I felt inspired to start bento-ing. And it was a lot of fun. I ate up all my veggies before they became dry or wilted.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-in-Sydney,
The silver kitten was a lot of fun! She liked climbing up our arms and meowing right in our faces, too! She may be tiny but she has no fear, ha ha! So glad she found a loving home!
As for bento, everything tastes better when it's in fancy shapes and patterns!

louis said...

What a coincidence! I had Bento today too, but unlike yours it was completely inedible. You see, "Bento" is the name of an Apple database application which I used today. Its icon is a typical bento box, illustrating that the database organizes information, instead of food. So I dined on bytes and bits, except they weren't as real or enticing as the items in your bento box. Healthy stuff though: the computer added k's but not kgs.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Louis,
What a novel and appealing idea -- a bento box of information! I like it that you got to dine on bits of information. Hope your lunch is as nutritious and palatable.

Angie said...

Such a pretty lunch! Makes everything look doubly appetizing!
Glad both you and the dogs survived the floods as SPCA.
Panda puppy looks adorable. Glad he found a home!

Love your Darth Vadai! May the Dhall be with you!

Unknown said...

Eating pretty too, eh? Well, I'm sure they were extra digestible! Hope the veg service resumes and you can have variety in your diet.
Have a wonderful time at Raptors Watch. Am not able to make it this year.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Angie,
Howdy, old pal! Will you be coming for Raptor Watch? Panda Puppy says "Thank You" for your kind words, and the dogs at the shelter want you to know that they had fun playing in the dirty puddles. May the Dhall be with you, too!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Keats,
Thanks for the update! The catering service has resumed operations and the food is as good as ever, but I have gotten into the habit of bringing some fruits and veggies to work anyway.
As a side note, May was very happy to hear that Bravo has been adopted, and Bravo's new family has described him as a "blessing" to them. Isn't that such wonderful news?

Pat said...

So sorry to hear about the floods, but I'm glad you and the animals are safe.

I love your cutesy bento-boxed food! I'll join the gang who cannot believe you made that yourself!!!

OMG! Darth Vadai rocks!!! 'Come with me to the Dhall side'?!!! Hahahahah!!! I love it!

larnee said...

Love darth vadai!! Awesome!! hahahahah

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pat,

The dogs are fine and they had fun but they're a bit smelly by now. Parfum de wet doggie.

So my bento boxes have joined the ranks of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus now? Nobody seems to believe they came out of my kitchen.

Thank you for liking Darth Vadai. Darth Vadai says he likes you right back.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Larnee,
The only drawback is that I didn't have the heart to eat Darth Vadai after the photoshoot. Oh well. May the Dhall Be With You.


dear adik co78,

Love your bento lunch box. It's super cool ....

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Abang Rizal,
Thank you for your kind words on my simple bento lunch! I see really fantastic "karyaben" (cartoon character) bento lunches in bento blogs and my bento lunch looks really pitiful in comparison, haha.

mNadeshiko said...

oooooooooooooooooooooo. Bento art!!!

you should’ve post this one before i came back lah! i could've bought it for you la. coz they're way cheaper there tau. hehehehe. XD

silver kitten is SOOO CUTE!!!!!!

and Darth Vadai- genius!!!!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ili,
Thank you for your generous intentions! Terima kasih sajalah, I think I am content with my 2 Lock & Lock boxes. Green Living means practicing the 3Rs! So less shopping + less packaging = Better quality of life!

Crazygirlclub said...

I love the drawing of Dark Vadai! LOL I would so love to eat that COOKIE!!! (I hope thats a cookie!)

And it was great for you to mop and all. You were right, the next morning it was so clean like nothing has happened! And now the shelter puts these scent that smells so good that travels miles away in the morning and stays scented for a while =D!!! Hope to see you soon!!!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Amelia,
Glad the shelter stayed clean until Sunday! What a relief! I will be coming over as usual this weekend.
For your info, that's a Vadai, a savoury snack, not a cookie! Your Dad's side of the family should be able to teach you all about vadais! said...

Hi, thanks for the intro on Omfood. We've resumed the delivery service now and we assure won't disappoint you again.

Thanks again for the support!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hello, OmFood! How did you find my blog? Yes, service is back to normal and we're all so glad! A few friends started subscribing to your service due to my recommendations! The food is just getting better and better. Yesterday's jackfruit-tofu rendang was AMAZING!

Thuara,com said...
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