Posted tagged ‘pork’

“The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed.”

December 18, 2017

Today is cloudy but it’s warm, in the 40’s. Last night was freezing.

In the dark last night Gracie went out and wandered down the hill by the side of my house. I went to check on her in the front yard and found her gone. I got my flashlight and looked but didn’t see her. I called my friends in panic, and despite the time of night and the cold, they came, one walking using his flashlight and the other driving. By then I had found Gracie at the bottom of the hill. She couldn’t get back up. I went down the hill to her and grabbed her, but I couldn’t get us back up the hill either. I kept sliding. Finally I found a route which got me and her to the front yard. We both went inside. She had a treat. I had an asthma attack.

Today I’m planning my cookies and the Christmas Day dinner. I have a method. I write down the name of the recipe, its source and the ingredients by aisle. I’m thinking 3 kinds of cookies. For dinner I’m leaning toward pork of some sort, but that’s just a maybe.

Yesterday’s Patriot’s game still has my heart atwitter. The last minute was amazing. My friends and I cheered, stood up, moaned and screamed. The final play was unbelievable. After a Steelers touchdown was called back as an incomplete pass, the Steelers decided to pass for the touchdown instead of spiking for a chance at a tie and overtime. The pass was batted away, it flew into the air and was caught by a Pat for an interception. End of game!

I saw a Facebook picture taken in the Tongo hills outside of Bolga. The caption mentioned the harmattan, the hot dry season with sand blowing in from the desert which is happening now. During my first harmattan, the back of the soles of my feet cracked from the dryness. I had to tip-toe. I started getting ballerina muscles. Finally the soles heeled (sorry-a written pun looks like a misspelling) into the ugliest thick callouses. I didn’t care. My feet felt fine.

I ate a lot of goat in Ghana. The first time I had no idea what I was eating. It was during Peace Corps training, and I was at my live-in, a three week span where we lived with a Ghanaian family. I was alone at dinner and was served soup with bony meat in one dish and in another dish, a glob of I had idea what. No fork or spoon mean I had to use my fingers. I grabbed some glob and ran it through the soup then ate it. The reddish soup was spicy hot, but I managed. I had to pick up the meat, also with my fingers, to chew around the bone. When next I saw my hostess, I asked why I was eating alone and what did I eat. She said she thought I’d prefer to be by myself. I didn’t. She said I ate t-zed with red soup and goat meat. Tuon-zafe, t-zed, is best described as a porridge of boiled corn meal, a glob. The goat meat was okay which is a good thing as I ate it often. I even found it once here in a Caribbean restaurant and ordered it as a bit of food nostalgia.

I don’t know how I got on to goat. I guess it was mentioning Christmas dinner as that’s what I had my first Christmas in Ghana. It was a feast.

“I love being home, reading the paper in the morning and having a cup of coffee, doing laundry, going grocery shopping and running daily errands. For me, it’s important to have that balance in my life.”

November 9, 2017

Last night was cold, not quite wintry cold but close enough. Saturday night will be in the 30’s. That’s winter to me. The sun is resting elsewhere so the sky is all over cloudy, not a single break of blue. It is a still day.

I was out yesterday and am going out again today. I can’t remember the last time I was out two days in a row. Maddie and Gracie are my incentives today. They both need canned food, and Gracie is almost out of treats. I also need sunflower seeds. That’s the first stop, Agway. As for me, I’m out of bread and butter. It is a two stop day.

When I was a kid, my parents always went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My father had to take my mother as she didn’t have a driver’s license and wouldn’t have one until after we had moved to the cape. Saturday was my father’s day for errands and chores. When I go by the Chinese laundry still in my home town, I think of my dad. He’d go to the “Chinaman” every Saturday with his long sleeve white shirts. He wore one every day to work and liked them starched. He wouldn’t start wearing colors until much later. I gave him a button down collar yellow shirt for Christmas one year, and that was the start of colors and buttoned down collars. My father surprised me when he abandoned white.

My father seldom deviated from his usual anything. He didn’t easily try new foods and wouldn’t eat familiar foods if they were changed even in the smallest way. The key to my dad was to work around him. When he was here visiting, he ate a pork roast to which I had added garlic in slits around the meat. My dad loved the meal. When my mother was making the same dish, he caught her adding the garlic. He told my mother no way would he eat it. Only shrimp scampi had garlic. He wouldn’t eat hummus because he said it looked like wallpaper paste. Chinese food was exotic to him, a man who loved Spam, sardines and instant coffee.

“For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”

December 17, 2016

It was nearly 4 when I fell asleep. Gracie, however, had no problem as she was snoring away as soon as she hit the mattress. It snowed a bit last night, but I missed the best of it. I woke to rain. The snow is now slush, the sort where you leave deep footprints when you walk through it. Both today and tomorrow will be warm which is a good thing as the slush won’t turn to ice. I’m staying home. I’m going to turn on all the Christmas lights, watch Hallmark movies and enjoy a lazy Saturday.

My friends came to dinner last night. It was a wonderful evening. The meal was great says the cook. The conversation was funny. We just sat at the table a while after dinner. I love to do that, just sit and talk. My friend did all the clean-up which I completely appreciated as it takes a while to make the dinner, clean up as you go along then clean everything. Her doing the dishes was a gift. We then played a word game and sat in the living room so we could enjoy the tree. I had a come from behind victory. We also exchanged gifts. Usually we don’t get together for presents until after Christmas so we figured early was due. I was thrilled with my present, an Amazon Echo and a speaker. I’ll play with Alexa today. My friends too loved their presents, and my friend Claire, the dishwasher, especially loved her present from Ghana.

Woolworth’s and the annual parish Christmas fair were my go to places to buy gifts for my parents then my sisters and brother if I had any money left. My mother was the consummate actress. When she opened my gift, she always looked so excited and happy.  I was thrilled that I’d found just the right gift at such a bargain, usually about 50¢. My father  loved his handkerchiefs, white ones, Woolworth’s best.

My favorite of all the Christmas movies is A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sims. It hasn’t been on yet so I keep looking. I watched the old Miracle on 34th Street the other night. The book is dated 1947 the same as I am so that makes it special. The old Bishop’s Wife is another favorite. Come to think of it, even the worst of Christmas movies are favorites of mine.

“Well, many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese–toasted, mostly…”

November 14, 2013

The weather is quirky. Snow fell the other day, but today and the next few days will be in the 50’s, tolerable weather. The nights will be cold but that’s November, and that’s why I have a comforter on the bed and animals who snuggle.

The bird feeders need filling and the red spawn needs to be shot. It has defeated my squirrel buster feeder by being small. It jumps from the deck to the feeder, grabs some seed then sits on the deck rail to eat it right in full view of me. I run out to scare it away but it knows when to come back. I’m thinking some acorns, a bit of irony probably lost on the spawn, or small rocks as ammo stored upstairs. I’ll open a window and aim though the sound of the acorn hitting the deck should sent that spawn running. He knows he is targeted. Think hose and last summer.

Much to do today. My friends are coming to dinner, a very late birthday dinner. They both have their birthdays in September and mine was August, and we have yet to give each other our gifts. I have to shop so last night, to save time from today, I set out all the dishes and silverware. We’re having pork tenderloin with an herb crust, smashed potatoes baked in the oven and glazed carrots. I’ll make my Moroccan appetizer, muhammara, and put out cheese, to me the most versatile food of all.

I am a cheese lover except for gorgonzola and blue. They even smell bad to me and blue always looks as if it has been around too long to eat. Cheese is a staple in my fridge as many of my meals are just cheese with bread or crackers. Brie is a huge favorite.

Ghana has no cheese because it has no milk. Ghana has cows but no Ghanaians drink milk. When I went back to Ghana, I was forced to use evaporated milk in my instant coffee just as I did in 1969. Ghana is not a place for coffee lovers or cheese lovers for that matter. If I were in the Peace Corps there now and still lived in Bolga, I’d find the Fulanis who tend the cows, buy milk from them and make my own cheese. It isn’t difficult.

In 1969, I figured everything was just part of the experience as did most of my friends, but when we got together, food always became part of the conversation. We all mused about what we missed the most. In Accra, we’d spend money at Kingsway Department Store to buy bruni food, white people’s food, to bring home. We’d travel to Lome, Togo because you could get ice cream, pastries and yup, even cheese. Lome was a volunteer’s paradise of food. One wonderful memory is when a bunch of us from Ghana were together in the Peace Corps hostel in Lome, something that didn’t happen often. We had all bought stuff to bring home, special stuff you couldn’t find in Ghana. Well, we had a huge party for no reason except we were together, had food and loved parties. We ended up eating just about everything.