Posted tagged ‘flow chart’

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”

April 9, 2016

The doctor says no surgery. It won’t change a thing happening with my back. He is, instead, referring me to the pain clinic hoping they’ll find solutions which are quick acting and will allow me to walk longer distances.

I think the news buoyed my spirits. Tonight I’m having friends over for dinner, and usually on the day of the dinner, I start to regret the invitation purely because of my back. Today I am raring to go.

I have a list. I always have a list. I also have a flow chart, and I am already behind my time. Talking to my sister did that. She wasn’t on any list.

Dinner will be Indian Chicken and Cashew Rice and a side of green beans for color. I don’t want to get your taste buds aroused but appetizers are blueberry, feta and honey-caramelized onion naan pizza and honey prosciutto with gouda on flatbread. For dessert I’ve already made my dark chocolate cream pie.

When I was a kid, I would have laughed if you had told me I’d be eating Indian food. Now it is among my favorites. Traveling has opened up my mind but even better it has extended my palate. I have eaten the oddest foods I would have cringed just looking at when I was young. Buying a live chicken for dinner would have grossed me out. Chicken comes in packages from the supermarket. Killing and plucking are not necessary. In South American I ate what in the United States are pets: Guinea pigs. They were tasty. In Finland I have no idea what I ate. The second language is Swedish. I just ordered what looked good.

I didn’t even know foods like hummus and falafel existed. I ate Wonder Bread not pita bread or lavash. The most exotic bread I ate back then was Italian scali bread.

On my first trip back to Ghana, I couldn’t wait until I had fufu for dinner and kelewele for a snack. They were my Ghanaian comfort foods.

Morocco was my last trip before the two and soon to be my third trip back to Ghana. Though the country is in North Africa I wasn’t eating African food. I was eating tasty, varied and delicious Moroccan food. Some of it I knew as I could translate the French names but others I chose by appearance. I never made a bad choice.

Part of the adventure of going somewhere different, somewhere new, is eating unfamiliar and maybe even unrecognizable food. That it is sometimes in a foreign language helps.

When I get to Ghana, I want kelewele and those round donuts the small girls sell. I love that in a far different country than my own I have favorite foods which don’t come from stores but from aunties, as older women are sometimes called, who cook and sell the food along the roadsides.

Stop the car!! It’s dinner time.

“Baking is like washing–the results are equally temporary.”

February 15, 2014

Batten down the hatches! A storm is a comin’, and the Cape is going to get walloped, all the weathermen agree. They just can’t agree on how much snow. The estimates range from 8″ to a foot or more. It is supposed to start this afternoon which gives me time for storm prep. I filled the feeders earlier then made a shopping list. After I finish here, Gracie and I will head to the dump on a most non-traditional day then on to the grocery store. I need bread, one of those must get before the storm comes items, but such of the rest of the list is good for the soul, not so much the body. Chocolate is on the list as is coconut ice cream. If I can’t be in the tropics, I can taste the tropics and imagine palm trees and soft breezes.

The morning was sunny and warm. Since then, the sky has become that funny whitish grey color I always associate with a storm. It’s a still day. The dead leaves on the branches just hang without even a flutter. Even the birds have disappeared, probably somewhere sheltered jockeying for space. Snow, even yet to fall snow, makes the day quiet.

My house is clean, and I have no laundry to do. I can spend my day reading or watching movies or baking. That’s right. I said baking. I am a good cook and I am not being boastful, only truthful. I used to have dinner parties all the time and serve elaborate meals. Choosing a theme was first. Mostly we visited other countries, and my table decorating matched our destinations. I even made papier mâché buildings which I painted true to color. My onion domed Russian churches were the stuff of legends. The piñatas were colorful and covered in layers of tissue paper. For every meal I made a flow chart and followed it religiously. It began with the recipes I’d chosen and the ingredients listed aisle by aisle in the supermarket. Then came the two-day preparation. I started most of the dishes and stopped at a step which I would continue the day of the dinner. The last list on the flow chart was what cooked at which temperature for how long. Today, though, I will not be as ambitious. I’m thinking plain old cupcakes without fanfare.

Spring training begins today for pitchers and catchers. There will be a summer. I have hope. 

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.”

June 11, 2013

Another early morning for me-this is a habit I have to break. I was up at 7, read the papers, even did the crossword and the cryptogram, then left for my library board meeting at nine. I just got home.

Last night it poured again. The world is green and lush but damp and chilly at only 64˚. It is supposed to rain again today. I have to go out later to do three errands but not until the afternoon. Yesterday I did my laundry, all three loads of it. The hall is now clear. I even took the clean laundry out of the dryer and put it away. Usually it sits there a while. I don’t know where all this industry is springing from, but I’ve had enough.

My landscaper and I discussed the flowers he forgot to plant last week. I was able to grab him for the chat as I up and about so early. He promises tomorrow he’ll plant and then mulch. I reminded him that last week he also promised Wednesday. He laughed. Sebastian keeps telling me he wants to take down the two pine trees and the two wild roses in the front yard. I keep saying no.

It has been a long time since I last cooked a fancy dinner, and I’m thinking it’s about time for another. I’ll have to do my flow chart such that I cook over a couple of days so my back will be okay. No big dinner of mine ever gets done without a flow chart. It always starts with the recipes in order: appetizers, meat, side dishes and dessert. Beside each dish is where the recipe can be found. I then make a list of the ingredients by category like fruits, veggies, frozen, meat and assorted to make shopping easier. The flow chart also lists the steps for each day and on the day of the dinner for each hour.. Some things I can cook ahead a few steps but not finish until the big day. After the dinner time is set, my flow chart works around that time so all the food is ready and on the table together. The need for a flow chart grew out of past bad experiences when the dishes were ready at all different times and some dishes, especially salads, were left in the fridge and never served. My flow chart and I get made fun of by my guests. Taunting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea.