Posted tagged ‘instant coffee’

“I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it. But you have to be efficient if you’re going to be lazy.”

October 18, 2021

The morning is chilly. This is the time of year when the house is colder than outside. I need a sweatshirt. The sun is bright. The sky is a deep blue. The leaves at the ends of the branches are barely moving. Today is dump day. The car is already loaded. Anything else I need to do is in the house. My things to do list is getting smaller. I’m down to six from ten.

My new cleaning lady is here for the second time. She is great with Henry and waits for him to come to her. Nala likes everybody and everything except the vacuum. She thinks it is a beast and has been constantly barking. I’m sure both cats are under the beds hiding. Gwen hid under the bed this morning when I went in to give her the morning shot.

My week will be busy, and I’m not so sure how I feel about that. I miss my sloth days. Tomorrow, Nala goes to the vet for a booster shot. Gwen goes on Wednesday for a day of testing. As for my ukulele, I have practice tomorrow, a lesson on Wednesday and a concert on Friday. My fingers have permanent string marks.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know a single other kid who took music lessons. We did have that first grade rhythm band for which I played the triangle, but it took no musical ability to tap it, just timing. I think the sticks were the hardest to playing because you had to kneel on the floor to play them. We didn’t pick what instrument we wanted. The nuns picked for us. I became quite proficient on the triangle.

I never helped in the kitchen when I was a kid so I didn’t know the first thing about cooking. When I was in college, I had an apartment my junior year. My roommate did most of the cooking while I did clean up. When my parents came to visit, they always brought bags of groceries. They brought lots of meat and vegetables, but they also brought cookies, bags of cookies. They usually took us out to dinner. I loved when my parents visited.

In Ghana, I had a cook, Thomas, who didn’t have a repertoire of dishes. Each meal was pretty much the same. Breakfast was two eggs cooked in groundnut (peanut) oil, two pieces of toast and coffee, instant coffee, and canned milk. Lunch was a bowl of fruit: oranges, bananas, pawpaw (papaya) and maybe mango. Dinner was chicken or beef. The beef was cooked in a tomato sauce which tenderized it a bit. The beef sold in the market always came from old cows. We had mashed yam or rice as a side. Vegetables were hard to come by back then. Tomatoes and onions were just about it. When we had chicken, I had to buy one alive at the market. Thomas dispatched it for me. I could never do that. We also ate a couple of my chickens.

When I went back to Ghana, my students said they tried to find Thomas, but they thought he had passed. I would love to have seen him again and maybe enjoyed one of his meals.

“Coffee first. Save the world later.”

August 20, 2017

The morning is just so beautiful with a bright, bright sun, the bluest of skies and a slight breeze, deck weather for sure. It is already getting hot, an August heat, but the deck has branches hanging over it and an umbrella to keep the sun at bay. Tonight is movie night.

My next door neighbors barbecue every Sunday. He cooks, and it is always chicken wings, just plain chicken wings, no sauce, no sides. I can usually smell the wings cooking so I go outside to yell hello from my deck to theirs. They always invite me over.

As soon as I wake up, I look forward to my first sip of coffee. I can hear it dripping into the carafe, and the house fills with the aroma of that coffee brewing. My sense of smell works overtime. I impatiently wait and sometimes even stand in the kitchen to watch. I could take it mid-brew, but I choose to wait, to heighten the expectation.

Recently I’ve been drinking African blend which is a bit funny as I never had real coffee in Ghana, only instant. I got used to it but was never a fan. On my last trip, my friends brought coffee bags, and they tasted far better than the instant, but we had had real coffee at Zania Lodge which spoiled me a bit; however, I adjusted to the instant though my taste buds were severely disappointed.

My house is a full cape which means it has two front windows on each side of the door. In the back, there is a dormer which gives my house three floors in the back but only one floor in the front. My deck is off the second floor in the back. I like being suspended above the ground.

I have to go out to get the fixings for tonight’s movie food. We’re having a jalapeño dip with blue corn chips and maybe a Stromboli. I have the ingredients for that on my shopping list, but oftentimes my trip to the store means seeing something already made which looks delicious so I change the menu right then and there. I’m nothing if not flexible.

“Life is a beautiful and endless journey in search of the perfect cup.”

August 21, 2014

This morning I was up and out by 9 o’clock for an appointment which is a novelty as some days I’m not even awake by then. Even worst than the early hour was I didn’t even have time for coffee. A day without morning coffee is a catastrophe. To add to the misery a coffee-less me is groggy and snarly. Let the world beware. Luckily, though, Gracie and I weren’t gone long so when we got home, I grabbed my papers, ran inside and got the coffee brewing. I watched it for a while in anticipation.

I don’t remember when I started drinking coffee. Cocoa was my morning drink of choice when I was a kid. I haven’t ever been a tea drinker except when I was sick and my mother gave it to me as a cure-all. I’m guessing it was in college when I started drinking coffee. Late night cramming sessions needed a stimulus and cup after cup of coffee worked.

My father was an indiscriminate coffee drinker. He even liked instant. My mother had Coke in the morning and only wanted coffee if she had a biscotti to dunk. One sister is a chai drinker while my other sister drinks coffee. I introduced my coffee drinking sister to cappuccino, and she is forever grateful.

I don’t like flavored coffee. I call them girly coffees. I like my coffee strong, not so strong a spoon can stand upright or not strong enough to grow hair on your chest, a phrase my mother used which I find myself saying now and then, but coffee needs to be bold.

I did drink that horrific instant coffee in Ghana because that’s all they had. When I went back forty years later, I was hoping for real coffee but instant is still all there is, Nescafé. Ghana is a nation of tea drinkers. In Morocco I came to like their mint tea and the ceremonial pouring of it from high above the decorated glass. I even brought back a set of glasses.

The last few nights have been chilly, and I have had a cup of coffee each night. It’s not yet at the put your hands around the cup to get warm season, but that’s coming soon enough.

It is a peek-a-boo with the sun day.

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”

March 18, 2014

The world looks different in the early part of the day. The cars are fewer and the lines shorter. People are purposeful with destinations in mind, and this morning Gracie and I were among them. I had an appointment, a destination, so we were out and about before nine, even before coffee and the papers. The appointment didn’t take long so when I was done and on my way home I rewarded myself for the early hour with a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a butternut donut. Gracie got a munchkin. I don’t know which of us was happier. I got home, drank my coffee and read the papers. My day was back on schedule.

I don’t usually make breakfast for myself at home except for brewing coffee though sometimes I have toast if the bread is interesting enough. The other day I had a couple of biscotti. They were chocolate, and they were delicious.

My father never cared for breakfast in Europe except in England and Ireland where he got eggs, a broiled tomato and floppy bacon. In most of the other countries breakfast was cold cuts and rolls, lunches my dad called them. In a lovely hotel on a river in the Netherlands, an egg in an egg cup was sitting on a dish at his place at the table. He was delighted until he found out it was hard-boiled. 

My father would have liked the hotels in Ghana. Breakfast is part of the room rate, and they serve eggs and toast, sometimes fruit and always instant coffee which my father preferred. I never understand that. At my parents’ house, my mother had a coffee pot and real coffee for when I visited, but my dad always had his Maxwell House.


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