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December 16, 2006

Potluck, Silicon Valley Style

We had an potluck for the whole Engineering department at work on Thursday. (Though I'm a technical writer, I'm considered to be part of the Engineering deparment, at least for purposes of parties and the like. Very convenient.)

I was chatting with a few coworkers a few days before the event, talking about what we were going to bring. "I was thinking of bringing sesame noodles," I said, feeling a bit silly for wanting to bring a cold noodle dish to a December potluck. "Ooooh," said a coworker. "Sesame noodles! Yummy. Bring that! Bring that!"

Well, that settled it. Only problem was, I've never actually made sesame noodles. But, never fear. I have something almost as good as experience: A copy of Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World. I used Bittman's recipe for "Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce" with a few tweaks to it. I'm not sure that it is the best recipe in the world for cold sesame noodles, but it was a hit.

One note: using fresh spices instead of ones that have been sitting in the back of your spice cupboard for years really does make a difference. I was running low on sesame seeds, so I picked up a fresh bag. When I opened it, the scent of sesame was positively intoxicating. Don't let your sesame get old.

The food was pleasantly diverse: as well as potluck standbys like potato salad, devilled eggs, and chili, we had pakoras, homemade bread, and several different ethnic variations on the spiced-meat-wrapped-in-thin-dough-and-fried theme. Someone also brought an enormous whole catfish, cooked with a spicy sauce, which found a surprising number of takers.

Posted by spaceling at December 16, 2006 08:04 AM


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