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Nostalgia In A Pod


Tuesday, March 20, 2007



As a child growing up in late 70s & early 80s Singapore, one of the highlights would be the occasional trip to the cinema. It was usually a Walt Disney cartoon film. If I'm not mistaken, the very first movie our parents took my younger sister and I to was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves".

Sure we were excited at the prospect of watching the movie. However, equally anticipated was the kacang putih my dad would invariably buy for the each of us. Kacang putih is Malay for white peas or beans. In those days, they were sold in paper cones made from torn out pages of the phone directory.

So the usual routine would go like this: Dad will go buy the tickets and then we'd all head over to the kacang putih stall, which is actually a pushcart. Atop the pushcart would be small sacks of various nuts, beans or peas, roasted, steamed, sugar coated, salted, you name it. You make your pick, and the kacang putih man, usually an Indian, would then fill up an empty paper cone to the brim with whatever you've chosen. My sister always picked the white sugar coated ones while I had this thing for steamed chickpeas. We would then proceed on into the theatre, clutching our precious bundles very carefully. Once seated, we would nibble on them slowly to make it last the entire movie.

Nowadays, when my husband and I take our son to the movies, I see him going through the same thing when we buy him his popcorn and coke. He, too, would sip and eat very slowly, stretching the portion, just like his Mom did many moons ago.

The reason why I brought this up was because this afternoon, I was in need of some childhood comfort food. My husband's away and well, I miss him and have been moping all morning. I don't usually mope and I am used to him travelling of course. So really, this is not normal for me. I'm blaming my PMS hormones. Come to think of it, it's wise of my husband not to be around within missile firing range of me this week. *evil cackle*

Anyway, I poked around the kitchen and found a tin of chickpeas I bought from the Turkish grocer last week. I emptied the contents in a bowl, sprinkled some salt and sugar and steamed it for about 10 minutes. I then let it cool for a bit before taking the whole lot into the living room, just in time for the screening of "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" on cable. I must've seen that movie (as well as the others in the series) at least 6 times but it still does it for me each time. I'm a very big fan of Star Wars.

So that's how I nursed my blues: with a bowl of chickpeas and a movie. Initially, I had this mad idea of tearing a page out of our phone book to make paper cones to hold the chickpeas. Just to recreate that childhood feeling and all. However, the adult in me warned of unknown germs and chemicals from the ink of the print text. Damn! Sometimes ignorance is truly blissful.


But no matter, for the following two hours, I was seven again. When the movie ended, I peeled myself off the couch, smoothed out my hair and clothes and went out to pick up my own seven year from school.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:04 pm

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Comments:
Oooo ... kacang putih ... it does bring back wonderful childhood memories. I like both - sugar-coated & steam.

So it is tat easy to make the steamed ones eh. Ok, will try to make them. They are the best snacks in the world = full of calcium and non-sinful, iygwim.
 
Agnes, if you buy the dried chickpeas, you'll need to soak them before steaming. Steaming time might also take longer. Just do the taste test.

In my case, the tinned ones were already cooked, hence a shorter steaming time.
 
I love them too! Though funny enough I only like them steamed like the kacang putih man's, not cooked in a Moroccan couscous, for example. I suspect that I only like chickpeas in the 1st place because of the childhood cinema thing.

And know what? I can't remember watching cartoons with my parents. But I certainly remember watching The Damsels of Alishan and a few Indonesian ghost/vampire movies with my mom. They didn't have PG and other ratings then, I guess.
 
Your mom took you to pontianak movies??!!! Whoah! Horror movies of any sort were banned at home. I still don't watch them now as an adult. Over-active imagination and all that. Plus I'm alone pretty much of the time....

I generally dislike legumes but have a soft spot for chickpeas and green peas. Like you, it's the childhood cinema thingy.
 
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