Don't these look yummy?
Well, they weren't. It's the second time I've made veggie spring rolls and although the filling of tonight's attempt was slightly more tasty that the first, the result was equally grotesque.
While I was working at a local health food store, a certain vendor came each week to stock the fridge with beautiful, raw spring rolls. Customers would rave about their deliciousness and request them when the shelf was bare. They tempted me too, and had the price not required a pound of flesh I might have bought them. Two and a half years ago, on a hot summer day when the cravings for fresh and light seem the most prevalent, I decided I could make my own for far less money. I purchased a lovely assortment of vegetables and a package of rice paper.
After batch number one was complete, it was obvious to me that a) I'd done something horribly wrong, or b) the spring roll enthusiasts were lying to me, because surrounding my tasty filling was a translucent gummy wrap. Paul and I tried to eat them, but once the filling was properly chewed and swallowed, a large slimy mixture remained smacking between our molars. I put away my rice paper until I could properly identify my error.
Tonight, years after the first tragedy, I decided to try again. I concocted a new filling and, hoping to change the texture of the rice paper, decided to shorten the time which it soaked in water. I had filled and folded a few rolls when Paul came into the room with sheer disappointment on his face.
"You know," he said. "I've never cared for raw spring rolls." I didn't respond because, well, I honestly didn't know what to say. I had yet to taste one that I found pleasurable myself. Yet, there I was, preparing them for my family.
When they were complete I picked one up and took a bite. I chewed. . . and chewed, switching the position of the masticating food from right to left in my mouth. Soon the rice paper broke away from the sprouts and cabbage and began prematurely slipping down my throat. I'm completely mortified to say it triggered my gag reflex, and after suffering through two rolls, I exiled the third to the garbage.
Paul ate five and didn't speak a word of complaint. But I knew he hated them. After dinner he tried to crack a joke, and I broke down in a fit of complaining and woe-is-me's, disappointed that I'd served something so completely unappetizing. He just smiled and told me I could experiment with spring rolls as often as I wanted, provided I make them precisely as I made them tonight. Well, since they were gross, I'm going to say I'm never making them again, which is probably the outcome he was hoping for.
Now I owe him garlic bread sticks. That's all he wanted for dinner anyway.