“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”

One of the mouse traps in my bedroom has disappeared. I did a cursory hunt last night when I was going to bed, but I didn’t find it. My guess is the occupant scratched and pushed and moved it, but that’s just a guess, a good guess though as past occupants also managed to move it. Their exertions used to wake me up. The missing trap has to be near the bookcase on which I had been setting them (if you call putting in peanut butter setting them). Later, when it gets lighter, I’ll do a better hunt.

I haven’t caught a mouse in two days so my old record stands.

Tonight is Patriots’ football. I made chili yesterday and have put it on low this morning so it can finish cooking. I have corn bread and some toppings for the chili: cheese, chopped jalapeños, sour cream and Fritos. I’m thinking chili and football on a cold winter’s night are a perfect combination.

I wonder sometimes how food comes into our lives. I don’t mean the common every day sort of meal but different foods. My mother never made chili or any kind of Mexican food, but my sisters, my brother and I love it. I wonder where we first tasted it. Middle Eastern food is a favorite of mine: hummus, tabouleh, falafel and baba ghannoush, but that I can trace to Ghana. In Accra in those days there were many Lebanese restaurants, and they were cheap which is a great find for a Peace Corps volunteer in the big city on little money. Ghana was also where I first tasted Indian food. It was at the Maharaja, a restaurant compete with pillows on the floor for seating. I have no idea what prompted me to taste all that foreign food back then as some of it was not visually appealing, but I think it was my being a bit adventurous in another country. I have tried stuff which I really hated including blood sausage. It was probably the name which put me off even before the tasting. Thai food is among my favorites. I usually hit my favorite restaurant, a hole in the wall, at least once or twice a month. There used to be a Caribbean restaurant in Falmouth, and I’d make the trek just for the goat curry, but that restaurant closed a long time ago.

When I read about a restaurant serving different foreign foods, I make a note of the name and address and put it in a book. It is my I hope to eat there book. The list includes a Moroccan, Indonesian and Caribbean restaurant.

My taste buds would love some more exploration. It’s been a while.

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27 Comments on ““He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    It’s snowing at the Bridge, as Chelsea are handing it to the Arsenal. The big one is at 11.00 as Spurs take on the front runners of the world Manchester United . It’s at White Hart Lane, the beers are in the crisps are out, the sofa is pulled off the wall and I will be taking up the Doctor Who position for the match.

    The Prince will be returning for an afternoon of gridiron football and we send best wishes to the University of Michigan quarterback and another appearance in the Superbowl.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,

      You have the perfect day: football, your style, in the morning, and football, US style in the late afternoon. It sounds as if all is ready!

      We are happy for those best wishes!!

      • Hedley Says:

        And the American Clint Dempsey equalized in time added on. Excellent game and lots of inappropriate potty mouth in the house.

        Music time until gridiron football.

      • Kat Says:

        That potty mouth will be here in this house as well-always is during a game.

        I am not going to my friends’ house. A cold materialized this morning and I’m sniffing and coughing. I called my friends to come and get the chili as it has been cooking all day so the germs have been cooked off.

        I’m thinking a nap!

      • Hedley Says:

        Felt rubbish with the cold cough thing on Friday..chills, the whole thing and then it was gone
        Luckily the Prince wasn’t here for excessive potty mouth, I would have been in trouble. He and I had a lovely afternoon watching “The Pirates, Band of Misfits”…we both liked it a lot. His Uncle is about to be drafted in the first round of the National Football League but I am not sure if you are going to see the Prince at Radio City Music Hall…you never know.

      • Hedley Says:

        And NO The Prince’s Uncle is not Manti Te’o…….

      • Kat Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        I have been felled by a cold. No watching the games with friends, just coughing all alone and feeling miserable.

        I sent donner down with all the fixings. I ate leftovers. (A bit of self-pity here!)
        I am so tired I may not last the whole game.

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, sounds exactly like what I had, chill, coughing, some sense of nausea, sinus pain. You will feel like rubbish for two days and then it will be gone
        Hang tough, the game is a drag anyways

  2. Birgit Says:

    The trap story is funny. If you also miss tools, the mice may strike back. Be careful, they may build a huge trap!
    Blood sausage is still common over here, a remnant of the past. I can eat it, if I have to, but I don’t buy it. Luckily we have lots of restaurants by immigrants and I loved to try everything. Sadly I have to be picky now due to an allergy. As a kid the only foreign meal my grandmother was willing to cook was Italian pasta. Later we even had oh-so-decadent ketchup with the pasta. Now I don’t want to miss foreign food and spices anymore.

    • Kat Says:

      I still haven’t found it though I really can still look behind the bookcase. I tried under the bed but nothing there. I think it may have fallen behind the bookcase straight down to the floor. The case is all of one wall so it will be an undertaking.

      It was the same when I was a kid: Italian was considered foreign. My parents ate Chinese food but never shared. They said it was bad for kids.

      I love foods with ll the different spices. Muhammara from Morocco is one of our favorite appetizers.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I grew up in an Italian immigrant neighborhood and that is where I tasted my first “foreign” food. My family is not Italian and my mother was a plain downeast Yankee cook: shoe leather meat and mushy grey veggies. It took 20 years to get her to use such an exotic spice as oregano.
    The broadening of my food horizons began in high school with my best friend’s mother who cooked French and Greek food. When I went to work, the people I worked with were from many cultures; Hispanic, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Cambodian, Arabic, French Canadian. Food lessons were many and tasty. I used to have weird food likes and dislikes but I’m brave and will try anything once so now my dislike list is very short. I won’t eat tongue or dishes that include animals which are still alive when you eat them. My mind is open on tongue.
    It’s sunny and windy and not as cold as I thought it would be. Another day for Rocky to hog the sunny chair on the porch. 🙂
    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      That’s so funny as Birgit and I also ate Italian as our first foreign food. MY mother was a good cook, but she was stuck cooking basics for us and my dad, the original meat and potatoes guy. Later, when we were older, she displayed her skills in the kitchen with a variety of different dishes. My dad, though, still stuck to the meat and potatoes and canned asparagus.

      It wasn’t until Africa that I was exposed to all different foods. I worked in the post office, and it wasn’t a hotbed of immigrants. In college I did get a taste of traditional Polish food as my roommate was Polish, and her mother always sent something back after a weekend.

      Sunny today and warmer than I thought it would be.

  4. Chili and football are two things that I could enjoy year around. Where I live, restaurant variety is quite limited. Applebee’s is our “fanciest” place to eat.

    • Kat Says:

      My Thai restaurant isn’t fancy at all, but I do have a few here which are wonderful and expensive, but this is a resort area bound to appeal to all sorts of pocketbooks, including some big spenders.

      I tasted it-the chili is perfect!!

  5. Y’know some of our tastes, whether they be artistic or sensory were chosen–unconsciously–to distance us from the past or from others. Still others, for the exact opposite reason–to build bridges.
    So, which one is chilli?
    Then again, many many tastes happen just because they please us! My mom never made chilli either. Most of my friends and acquaintances manage to do without it too.
    Me–I love it.
    Just because :>)

    • Kat Says:

      Chili is neither. I think it belongs to the class of foods which crosses boundaries and leaves behind any ethnicity. It can be found, of course, in Mexican restaurants but also on hot dogs and even French fries.

      My friends love chili, and they too never had it as kids. It has all the best stuff: hamburger, sauce, onions, cheese and whatever else you want to put on top. What’s not to love?

  6. olof1 Says:

    I love Lebanese, Thai and Chinese food. The two first is hard to find close to me but Chinese restaurants seems to survive anywhere 🙂 But how can’t You like blood sausage?? or blood pudding 🙂 I love it and especially with baked white beans, bacon and potatoes. It¨’s probably the cheapest food one can find ob´ver here too 🙂 Indian food is tasty but everything looks justb the same in my eyes 🙂

    I can’t hear any mouse any longer, perhaps it just was here for a short visit or maybe the cats tool it when it went outside to get some food?

    Italian was my first foreign food too (well Danish was perhaps before that but it’s not that different from ours), I remember when we went to a pizzeria that opened up in my neighborhood. I loved pizza then but now days I eat it perhaps once a year, still like it though 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      Lebanese food is sold in the super market but I wish I could have it in a restaurant but there are none here either. We have lots of Thai and Chinese, a Brazilian grill and even a great Indian restaurant one Hyannis.

      It is easy for me not to like blood pudding or sausage! I also hate beans.

      I haven’t caught a mouse in two days.

      I have pizza a lot for dinner. The pizza place I love delivers, and it also has mexican food so I have a lot of choices.

      Have a great Sunday!

  7. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hey Kat!

    i am so happy to say that the list of foods I won’t eat is easier to say than the list I do eat. I am blessed with no food allergies of any sort and am pretty much game for everything…plus living in New Jersey means there is a wealth of different cultures who open different restaurants!

    My grandmother was the cook in our house but her skills were very basic — meat, potato, vegetable, chicken. We always had spaghetti. Still a favorite of mine and my limited cooking skills. I have eaten Moroccan food and enjoyed it. When I was a kid I can remember eating Chinese out of a can (Chung King?) since I think in those Dark Ages takeout had not been invented yet. Didn’t do Mexican until I was in my teens. Love that too. Friends of mine own a delightful Mexican restaurant that I try to do often. There is also an excellent Chinese place nearby that I have on speed-dial. 🙂

    Never heard of a place that does pizza AND Mexican. Interesting concept.

    Had a friend who insisted on drowning EVERYTHING in ketchup no matter where he ate or who prepared it. Said it was from force of habit as his mom was a lousy cook.

    Take care of that cold, girlfriend. I will stay a few feet away from the computer now… 🙂

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I too have no food allergies though I do have food I won’t eat: beans, pitches, Brussels sprouts and a few more which escape my memory.

      My aunt made all sorts of spaghetti: white with clam sauce being one I ate at her house. It was an experience for someone who thought spaghetti was red with hamburger.

      There are actually two places which do Mexican and pizza but only one delivers. I love their pizza.

      I am always a little put out when people salt or ketchup foods without even tasting them. I know it’s a habit but it also says the food isn’t tasty enough without all the additions.

      Definitely stay away. This is awful!

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      Cape Cod has only expanded its choices in the last fifteen or twenty years. Before that it was only Chinese. Now I can go to Hyannis for all sorts of foods.

      I love Moroccan food and brought a tagine back with me from Marrakech. I even had a cooking lesson when I was there. I think the Chinese restaurant in our town always had take-out as I remember my dad bringing some back.

      You get two different answers!! Sorry for the wrong name below!!

  8. I shudder when I think about some of the “meals” we used to eat when I was a child. Though my mother was a decent enough cook when it came to solid English dishes like roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast turkey (reserved for Sundays) or Betty Crocker-type dishes, it’s Friday’s menu of Swanson’s frozen dinners (usually Salisbury Steak) that I remember most clearly. It took me years to detoxify.

    Your mention of the Peace Corps brought back memories of my old boss for whom I worked as a clerk-typist in my first job at the Royal Ontario Museum. She was a CUSO volunteer (Canadian University Services Overseas) in India.

    You have such a knack for writing about everday activities in such an interesting way – I wish I had that gift. Marie

    • Kat Says:

      We were subjected to frozen fish sticks which still give me food nightmares but mostly we had meat, potatoes and a vegetable every dinner. Hamburger, being relatively inexpensive, was often served for dinner in a variety of ways.

      I knew a CUSO volunteer in Ghana. He lived not far from me, and we all socialized. I forget what he did for a job, but he lived near the hospital so maybe it had something to do with medicine.

      Thank you for that nice compliment!!

  9. Bob Says:

    I just got back to my hotel from a side trip to visit my cousin. He is living in an assisted living facility in Yonkers. Every time I drive into New York City, even on Sunday, I am reminded how old and crowded the city is compared to other US cities. I took my cousin to lunch and I am amazed how many different kinds of foreign food out let’s there are everywhere. The end of the Vietnam war did wonders for the quantity and quality of Asian food across America. The refugees from the war came here and opened eating places large and small. They were followed by the people from India, Mexico and Thiland who also opened restaurants. My cousin wanted to eat Chinese food.

    I like most foreign food except food from India. I don’t like the taste of celantro. It’s sometimes found in Mexican food and Thi food. Only god knows what’s in Indian food that gives it that distinctive odor. When I flew to China last year the flight had lots of Indians on board headed home to India. When they started servng the special meals, that the Indian passengers ordered, I almost lost my appetite. I don’t like very hot food because the extream heat overwhelms all the other favors.

    • Kat Says:

      The cities do have so any more choices for foreign food. There is a great African place in Cambridge which I’ve been to a few times.

      I love Boston and with so many college students it tends to stay a bit more vibrant. Parts of the city near the waterfront have been and are being rehabbed. They’re big draw.

      Cilantro tends to be more in Mexican food than the India I cook. Cumin is heavy in Indian food as is cardamom. I don’t like their vindaloo (the real hot stuff), but I loike the other food.

      • Bob Says:

        You are correct about the celantro. It may be why I don’t like Thi food. Indian food to me reminds me of dog poop. Of course my wife doesn’t like curry either so we never try any other kind of Indian food.

  10. Kat Says:

    Curry is only one sort of Indian and Thai food. Give some other dishes a try!

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