“I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.”

Today is wonderfully warm. The sky is a bit grey. There is no breeze so the dead leaves sit quietly at the ends of the branches. I have one errand today, and I was with my neighbor earlier for our Monday session of talking English and learning questions for the citizenship test. She is from Brazil. Her husband is already a citizen so she is hoping to become one. We covered a bit of early America and the few questions about World War II. “Why do I need to know that?” was her question about the Axis powers of World War II. I gave her an answer she didn’t seem to understand then I said because it’s in the book and they might ask you. That answer she accepted.

I got two Christmas boxes of goodies when I was in Ghana. Both arrived about a month after Christmas. They weren’t filled with the usual presents like clothes or jewelry or books. They had Mac and Cheese, sauces, ready made dinners, beef jerky and some fun stuff like origami and paddle balls. To make all those goodies last longer we had them only one day a week. Sunday was eat from the box day. The rest of the week we ate Ghanaian, and on Saturdays we often bought the food from chop bars in the lorry park. Chops bars sell food. Most are small shacks with a few wobbly branches and tables. We usually bought fufu or T-zed.

Sunday was always a special day. We’d go through our boxes and decide what we wanted to eat. Kraft macaroni and cheese was a feast. Noodles with Alfredo sauce almost made us swoon. We’d eat a few M&M’s after dinner, but only a few so they’d last longer. We were in food heaven.

I never thought that I would consider macaroni and cheese sublime, but in Ghana I learned to appreciate so many things because I didn’t have them. They were little things and they were food things. I still remember how much I wanted cole slaw.

 

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12 Comments on ““I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Warm and sunny here today too and no wind to talk about either, I could go outside a few times to enjoy the day. Now it’s below 32 but that will change during the night they say.

    We always apreceate simple things from home when we are abroad. Swedes love their Kalles caviar, smoked cod roe and Swedish hard bread. I’ve never been away for that long so I could miss anything from home, I’ve been too busy enjoying the things I can’t get here at home instead 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      We are both having a crazy winter. You have only had a little snow, and we have had none. Most days, even the ones in the 40’s, are warmer than they should be.

      I so agree that it’s the simple things we miss the most. I do treat myself to imported cheeses and artisan breads, but mostly I just eat the day to day foods. I guess it isn’t such a big treat if you can get stuff anywhere.

      What do you like the most that you can’t get at home?

  2. Hedley Says:

    Costco – Mac and Cheese

    Many years ago, the Prince and I were cruising Costco in Auburn Hills and were presented with a sample of their Mac and Cheese. Smitten, we pursued Mrs MDH and summarily announced that we needed the Mac and Cheese.

    On Saturday, in the afterglow of “A Christmas Carol” and before the second weekend in Advent at St John Fisher Chapel, the Prince and I were discussing our dinner in the lead up to the Sparty – Iowa game. It did not take long for us to focus on Mac and Cheese. Mrs MDH, being a good sport, cruised over to Costco and brought back the dinner we so much appreciate.

    Costco Mac and Cheese rules

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I think Mac and Cheese is one of the all time comfort foods, but I generally make some with all the cheese left in my fridge so it doesn’t ever taste the same from one dish to another.

      I have no Costco around here so I can’t give it a taste. Now you have me wishing I could have some for dinner.

      Mrs. MDH is quite good to you and the Prince.

  3. Richard Says:

    Bright ‘n shiny is the Order of the Day for us … started out cold-ish, but warmed up a bit since then. More’s the pity. The trees, however, are my favorite color: Leafless. Except for the pine trees.

    Y’ know, your neighbor may end up knowing more about American history than the kids in today’s government indoctrination centers that are more concerned about teaching ’em what to think rather than how to think – and don’t get me started with that ‘Common Corpse’ stuff … Speaking of history, today’s the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor being attacked. Haven’t heard a lot about that on the news, have we? We won’t, either. Not part of ‘The Narrative’ now, y’ know … but I digest …

    Your gift boxes in Ghana were the ‘Practical Stuff Of Home’ … those are always the best kind. Okay, Lucy, ‘splain me sump’m: What, rezackly, is a ‘chop bar’ … ? Is it like a neighborhood cafe? On a different tack, what is T-zed? Isn’t ‘zed’ the same as ‘zero’? Now my brain’s startin’ to hurt …

    If you’d got a few cans of Chef Boy-ar-dee’s ‘Overstuffed Ravioli’ in those boxes, it woulda gone great with the Mac ‘n Cheez. Carbs ‘n pseudo-meat in the same dish … who could complain?

    If I weren’t trying to still remain (ahem) ‘healthy,’ I’d eat a lot more Mac ‘n Cheez ‘cuz I make my own. That, however, would be antithetical to the desire to see the numbers on the scale stay (a) the same or, (b) get lower. I might have to consider the cole slaw you mention …

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      The scrub oak never drop all their dead leaves. They and the scrub pine are just about the only trees around here. I even have an artificial tree which resembles a scrub pine.

      TCM has all war movies on today including parts of Capra’s Why We Fight. The parts are War Comes to American and December 7th. That’s about it for Pearl Harbor Day.

      Believe me when I tell you teachers feel hampered but what they must teach.

      A chop bar is a hole in the wall place to get food. I would’t call it a restaurant as it is usually a shack with a few tables and chairs. All the cooking is done outside in the back of the chop bar. It serves fufu and T-zed with soups. You take a piece of fufu, drag it through the soup and eat it. You always use your right hand, no utensils. You can usually have your choice of a couple of soups.

      T-Zed, tuo zaafi, is the traditional food of Northern Ghana. The zed, just means Z which in England and Canada is pronounced zed. It is a kind of porridge made from millet which you eat with soup.

      My mother sent things which were not too heavy so she could fill the box and not pay a king’s ransom.

      I still love cole slaw!

      • Richard Says:

        Kat, thanks for clearin’ up the chop bar. It sounds like a neighborhood kinda place, or what, in rural Mississippi, used to be called a ‘juke joint’ without the ‘juke’ … I like the idea of eating sans utensils, too.

      • katry Says:

        Richard,
        The chop bar is the go to place when you travel. I remember my first one was The Old Man Chop Bar in Tamale in Northern Ghana. I had only been in country for three weeks. I thought I’d eaten a cannon ball.

        The longer I stayed, the more I liked fufu and T-zed. Okra soup was a favorite and also light soup.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m not big on Mac n Cheese unless it’s the kind that is covered in buttered bread crumbs and baked in the oven. Stove top mac n cheese is just dull.
    The thing I miss when I can’t get is American Chop Suey. Not the kind made from just pasta and canned tomatoes though. The kind that is made with a real tomato sauce and cheese. On the stove top. Baked American Chop Suey is fine, too, but the one I crave is the stove top one. It’s positively awful when the craving hits and there are no American Chop Suey parts in the house. There is one restaurant that does it but only on Wednesdays. Oh, the horror of unrequited ACS craving, if it’s not a Wednesday.
    All of my mother’s sisters and her father moved to California back in the 50’s. They missed Dunkin Donuts, Howard’s Piccalilli, Snow’s Clams in a can and Kitty’s Pizza. My mother would send them care packages. They also missed The China Moon restaurant in Stoneham but that would have been difficult to pack. 🙂

    Today was lovely. I drove around with the window open and took dog walks in flip-flops and a light top. There were bugs other than winter moths. It felt wonderful but weird.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I agree about the Mac and Cheese. I usually make my own when I have chunks or ends of a variety of cheeses. I’m almost at that point.

      American chop suey was on the menu many times when I was growing up. We liked it and the meal was fairly inexpensive to make. I bought some the other day and it just didn’t taste right. make a bath and freeze it into dinner sizes.

      Dunkin Donuts has made it to Colorado. My sister is a butternut donut fiend and stops there often. Howard’s Piccalilli would be missed if I had to move. Such sacrifices attached to moving.

      Gracie had an appointment with the cardiologist who said her heart sounded fine and it was fine when she took an EKG. In January she’ll have a cardiac echo. Nothing has happened, but it is precautionary.

      Tomorrow will be colder so bundle up!!

  5. Jay Bird Says:

    No, no… try Stouffer’s mac & cheese, frozen and microwaveable. Surprisingly good; almost indistinguishable from homemade, and a hell of a lot easier. No baked bread crumbs (they are so good), but ya can’t have everything!

    The family sent our younger daughter a huge Christmas goodies box when she was a PCV, Bangladesh. She loved the American food, but her fave was a Columbia fleece vest I bought. In the sub-tropics, when it hit 60* at night, she was freezing!

    • katry Says:

      Jay,
      Okay, I’m willing to give it a try as I do love Mac and Cheese.

      I know that cold. Ghana around Christmas time was always cold at night and in the early morning. I snuggled under a wool blanket on my bed but left the windows wide opened. I relished feeling cold. A vest wasn’t needed for me but for my students who wore layers every morning. It was in the high 6’s, low 70’s at night during the Harmattan, down from over 100˚ every day.

      People couldn’t believe I found the low 70’s, high 60’s cold. Even now when I go out to get the paper I can sometimes feel a morning cold I know won’t last. That immediately brings me back to Ghana.


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