I freely concede that I am very much a creature of habit. Some might contend that this is because I am borderline obsessive-compulsive. I think, instead, that through my years of life experience I have learned that there are just right ways to do some things. Once you figured out the right way, why in the world would you want to take a different approach?
Consider the proper approach to consumption of Indian food. When I make a trip to Indian Oven for lunch, I invariably order lamb korma, medium plus on the spice scale. Why not? It’s delicious, has the right level of spice to give a flavorful kick to my day, and the portion size is perfect, with just enough food to satisfy my midday hunger without leaving me feeling bloated or leaden during the afternoon.
But there’s a right way to eat this perfect dish, too. At Indian Oven, the dish of lamb korma is accompanied by a dish of freshly made Basmati rice. Obviously, the rice is to be consumed in conjunction with the lamb korma — but how? I suppose you could spoon out partial portions of each and gradually work your way through the servings, but that approach risks misalignment of rice and topping, potentially leaving the diner with either naked rice or leftover korma. That would be like working through a plate of nachos at a bar and arriving at the end to find that, once again, there is an imbalance of chips and toppings, leaving you in a frustrating chip-less state even though there are still beans, salsa, shredded beef, and rapidly congealing cheese to be consumed.
In the Indian food context, the best way to avoid this unseemly predicament is to promptly combine the rice dish and the lamb korma on your plate, and then carefully mix the two together, so that each grain of rice is well coated with the korma sauce. You also want to eyeball the meat and egg and potentially divide a few of the larger chunks, with the ultimate goal of enjoying a piece of meat and egg along with the rice on every forkful of curry-laden goodness. So what if this almost scientific mixing and apportionment process takes a while as your fellow lunch companions gobble down their food? Life is a journey, not a sprint.
So, what a casual observer (like, say, the Jersey Girl) might mistakenly perceive as almost a form of superstitious ritual is instead a carefully considered, time-tested way of maximizing enjoyment of a favorite dish. There’s nothing weird about it. An obsessive compulsive would do something outlandish, like count the grains of rice before mixing them with the korma.
You know, that’s actually not a bad idea.