Posted tagged ‘groundnut paste’

“I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.”

June 5, 2018

The dump was fairly empty today. I was horrified to see one bag of my trash had maggots. That one had been in the trunk since Thursday. Seeing those crawling maggots whizzed me back in time to my childhood. Our house had an outside garbage pail. It was in the ground with a metal flip top you opened with your foot. The pail usually had maggots. My mother had a triangular plastic garbage holder which she kept in the corner of the sink. She’d nab one of us to empty the garbage outside. I hated to touch it afraid I’d get garbage on my hand. Every week the garbage man came to empty it. I couldn’t think of a worse job. Even the truck smelled bad.

Today is lovely. It is cool, in the high 60’s, and so sunny the light glints off the leaves and shines through the branches. The breeze is cool but not chilling. A short sleeve is enough. I have one more errand I couldn’t do yesterday in the rain, those flowers. I saw my neighbor, also my landscaper, this morning and alerted him to the flowers which will need planting. He told me not to worry. I won’t.

When I was a kid, I was always busy in the summers. I was seldom home. I used to pack a lunch and take it with me. It was bologna if there was any left, but sometimes I had to use peanut butter and Fluff, but I never saw it as a second choice. Bologna was a neat sandwich. Fluff was not. Usually it seeped out the sides unto my fingers when I held my sandwich to eat it, and I often had a fluff mustache. It was sticky.

In Ghana, I used groundnut paste, peanut butter paste to us. It was thick and was a soup base for groundnut stew. I ate it as a snack on bread with jelly, but I had to thin the paste or it would tear the bread. I used groundnut oil to do that. My cupboard was never bare of groundnut paste.

I still love peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches. The only difference is I’m much neater now.

“I believe in rituals.”

October 16, 2014

Last night it rained and today it is supposed to rain again, heavily. The sun is popping in and out of the clouds. The temperatures of the last couple of days have been in the 70’s with mild nights in the 60’s. My windows are opened and the front door still has its screen. Gracie sits there and looks out for the longest time. I wonder what keeps her interest as my street is a quiet one. I stand with her every now and then just to keep her company.

All my life I have had morning rituals. During my childhood the weekday mornings were always the same. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, do teeth then walk to school. For breakfast I always drank cocoa. My mother gave us toast and eggs and in the winter we had oatmeal, the sort which always has lumps. When I was in high school, I had to get up earlier and getting the bus was added to the ritual. In college, I grabbed breakfast on the way out, and every morning my friends and I would sit together in the canteen, drink coffee and race each other in finishing the newspaper’s crossword puzzle. Usually we worked in teams of two. When I was in Ghana, I had the same thing every morning: horrible coffee, two fried eggs and toast. The eggs were cooked in peanut oil, and they were the best fried eggs I ever had. If I had a break in classes, I’d walk to my house and have another cup of coffee and sit on the porch to drink it. Breakfast never varied. I had margarine on my toast as butter was imported and not in my budget. I’d sometimes add groundnut paste, the Ghanaian version of thick, thick peanut butter which needed to be mixed with peanut oil to make it spreadable. The Ghanaians used it as a soup base. Those mornings in Ghana were amazing, every single day.

When I started teaching, I got up 5, had two cups of coffee, read as much of the paper as I could, got dressed and left for school at 6:20. On the way to school, I’d stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a medium coffee. I did that every weekday until I retired.

In retirement I haven’t changed much though now I get up whenever. I feed the cats, fill the water dish, fill the dog’s dry food dish, let the dog out, put the coffee on and get the papers in the driveway. Sometimes I have toast and sometimes I have a bagel but mostly I just have coffee, usually two cups, one with each paper. I take my time reading the papers. I then check my e-mail and finally start writing Coffee.

I think of my mornings as ritual, as almost sacred.

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

June 14, 2011

I’m really late I know, but I dragged myself out of bed for an early morning meeting, and when I got home, I read the papers then snuggled under an afghan and shared the couch with Gracie for a nap. She’s still asleep. The day is raw. My hands are cold, and I need socks to keep my feet warm. It’s the dampness more than the temperature which makes 57° so uncomfortable. Today is a stay at home and read day. I might just have some cocoa, and, of course, it will need a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff floating on the top.

I love fluffernutters. When I was little, I only had creamy peanut butter, but then I tasted and got addicted to the chunky. My favorite now is Roasted Honey Nut, either plain or chunky. Groundnut (peanut) paste was a staple in Ghana. It was thick and sold in jars to be used for soups, but I bought it for sandwiches. I’d have to mix in a little groundnut oil to make the paste easy to spread or it tore up the bread. I always thought of those sandwiches as a bit of home.

My mother never packed fluffernutters in our lunch boxes. They were always snacks to us. Sometimes I’d use Saltines and make a little snack of miniature fluffernutters. They always needed milk. They were best eaten in the living room in front of the TV. We always left crumbs on the rug no matter how careful we were.

I also like PB&J sandwiches with grape jelly, strawberry jam or hot pepper jelly. I like them for lunch or even dinner if I’m really feeling too lazy to cook anything. I don’t do glasses of milk anymore. I do coffee.


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