“Food is the place where you begin.”

We had snow yesterday, mostly a dusting, maybe an inch, maybe less. During the storm, I turned on the back light and watched the snow fall. It fell gently. I was going to sweep the front stairs and walkway this morning, but the snow is mostly gone from there. Last night was in the low 20’s. Right now it is 33°.

When I first got Henry, he wouldn’t let me pat him for months. He even saw a dog shrink three times. Finally, after six months, he let me pat him and scratch by his tail. I was thrilled. Jump ahead to now. Henry sometimes drives me crazy. If I get off the couch, he follows. I don’t go to the bathroom alone. I don’t go anywhere in the house alone. He does enjoy a nap upstairs on my, think our, bed, but if he hears me moving around he comes right downstairs. I have a shadow, a big white and brown shadow.

Life is quiet. Other than uke practice on Tuesday nights and a lesson every Wednesday morning I seldom go out. I do go to the dump but not on any particular day, and I sometimes skip a week. I used to feel guilty about doing nothing, but I have wholly embraced the sloth in me.

When I was a kid, clean laundry magically appeared in my drawers and closet. The bed made and changed itself. Trash walked out the door to the barrels. All of it happened without me. All of it happened when I was I school. I had no chores. That was the beginning of the birth of my inner sloth.

My mother used to mash carrots and potatoes together so we’d eat the carrots. I loved baby peas and corn though I was less enthused about cream corn. It looked a bit gross and spread all over the plate. In Ghana I ate vegetables I hadn’t ever heard of before then. Okra was one of them. I always ate it in soups. It was a bit slimy but that made it more interesting. Garden eggs were just as the name implies, small vegetables shaped like an egg. I didn’t know for a long while they were tiny eggplants. I ate yams, not sweet potatoes but actual yams with skin which looked like bark. In September FraFra potatoes appeared in the market. They were small but were actual potatoes. They were only around a short time soI always ate my fill. I added hummus to my diet with its chick peas.

My palate was greatly expanded in Ghana where I didn’t know what I was eating some of the time. I had learned not to ask.

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4 Comments on ““Food is the place where you begin.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today was mostly cloudy with a breezy south wind up to 18 kts. gusting up to 25 kts. but a pleasant 77°. Tonight thunderstorms are forecasted as the cold front pushers eastward.

    As we travel and age, our taste buds mature and we learn to eat new and seemingly exotic foods. The one vegetable or condiment that I can’t eat is cilantro. It’s prevalent in lots of cuisines, but to me, to my sister, and, to my first cousin the stuff tastes like eating soap. I can’t determine if it’s closer in flavor to Life Boy or Ivory? 🙂 Obviously, it’s something genetic.


    My mother learned to cook from her mother who grew up in Ukraine near the port city of Odessa. My grandmother was a wonderful baker, but her everyday dishes were generally bland tasting. Eastern European Jewish cuisine is bland. My mother thought a can of paprika was a spicy addition to a braised brisket. 🙁

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I was never exposed to different foods when I was growing up. We were meat and potatoes and canned veggies for the most part so I think my expanding palate didn’t have so much to do with maturing taste buds but rather availability. I knew kids who ate what I would have turned my nose up at. In Ghana, I didn’t have much of a choice as to what to eat. The staple vegetables were tomatoes and onions. Soup was pepper hot with no other spices.

      That is weird about cilantro. I’m not sure it really gives that much flavor to anything so I don’t think I’d miss it. How gross that it tastes like soap. Maybe Irish Spring?

      My mother couldn’t add herbs and such to certain dishes because of my father. His mother was a horrible cook. He would only eat spaghetti with stewed tomatoes. Garlic belonged with shrimp scampi and nothing else. He preferred canned asparagus. He even preferred instant coffee. There is no counting for taste.

      • Bob Says:

        I was fortunate that my parents exposed us to other types of food such as Italian and Chinese. Because we lived in New York and in Dallas in the early 1950s Italian and Chinese cuisine was very Americanized versions. In the 1950s, Dallas was a vast wasteland of cuisine. People ate at barbecue joints, Steak Houses, or diners serving staples like Chicken Fried Steak with cream gravy, or Fried Chicken. Although Mexican restaurants were everywhere, my parents never took us to Mexican restaurants because I think they didn’t know what to order.

        When my dad first traveled to San Antonio for business, he walked into a Mexican restaurant downtown called, downtown dinner and ordered the only item that he recognized on the menu, “Businessman’s Lunch”. He watched the other diners butter their flour tortillas and roll them up to sop up the gravy of the food which he ate but didn’t know their names.

        If you had traveled to Louisiana and had eaten Gumbo as a kid, you would be familiar with Okra which is a main ingredient of any kind of Gumbo. Okra was brought to the south from Africa to feed the slaves.

  2. katry Says:

    We also ate Italian and Chinese food. I remember my first spaghetti with clam sauce. It was out of our regular fare, but I really liked it. The China Moon was our go to Chinese restaurant. They used to bus all their waiters from Chinatown in Boston. It was also Americanized in its offerings. To fine more traditional Chinese meant a trip to Chinatown. There were wonderful hole in the wall restaurants there. The only Mexican restaurants were also in Boston. My parents were never fans of Mexican food, but my brother and I were.

    Seafood was our local cuisine. I loved steamed clams and most other clam dishes. We also ate steamed mussels. My mother made wonderful seafood casseroles. Fresh fish fillets are sublime.

    We never traveled south on vacation. We went north. I don’t think okra was even sold in our supermarkets when I was a kid. Now it is every supermarket.

    I introduced my friends to gumbo and jambalaya.

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