After a short hiatus (Kate went to Paris) we have the PIG (Passionate International Gastronomers) Project back up and plowing through the B’s. Friday night we went to the Balkan Grill in Arlington, VA for a delicious Bosnian feast. The restaurant calls itself “Take Out” due to the absence of tables and chairs (there is a bar table that sits 4). We ordered food to go and eat at Jill’s house just a few minutes away.
Posts tagged: Friends
Since I was unable to post about my trip while it was happening I will do a small and late recap of the trip. The following images have a short description of each included so just click on one and it should explain its self.
Jesse and I spent Monday traveling around with my Dad’s students visiting agricultural sites, listening to lectures and watching PowerPoints, and eating a lot of samosas for some reason. That night we went to the Carnivore – a famous restaurant in Nairobi that serves grilled meats in Brazilian style. They used to serve game meats like zebra, hartebeast, gazelle, etc but news laws only permit the selling and eating of farm-raised animals like crocodile and ostrich.
Tuesday Jesse and I spent the day visiting old friends, our old school ISK and we met with a professor at the University of Nairobi to talk about my future research. That night we went to the Village Market, a popular mall owned by the parents of one of my friends, to have dinner with my friend and one of Jesse’s friends. We were also joined by some other guests who were in Kenya for the Maxi Dash competition that is rock climbing / car race across Kenya (the people in the linked video were the other guests that night).
Wednesday we started our drive across Kenya with my dad and his grad students. Our first stop was Nakuru to visit my dad’s old colleagues, a research sites and to do a little safari in the Nakuru National Park. Nakuru is in the Great Rift Valley which is a very unique geologic region created from the separation of two tectonic plates. Check out the photos above for some great animal shots while in the park.
Thursday was spent driving to Kisumu to visit another research site. Kisumu is a large city located on the shore of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. The road to Kisumu was under construction so we were forced to take a crappy rocky bumpy side road that added hours to our journey. That evening we visited the research facility, took some photos of Lake Victory and slept.
Friday morning we visited some test plots and a local lady’s farm. We then drove back to Nairobi so my dad and his students could catch their flight back to the US. Jesse and I spent the night with out friends Prince and Linda.
Saturday was Jesse’s last day and so we had to get all the souvenir shopping and visits to friends before he left. We visited with our old guard that used to work for us when we lived in Kenya. It was great to see him and hear how his family was doing. He also took me to some jua kali work sites and into the bowels of the municipal market to buy Kate some African fabric. That evening we went to dinner at a friend’s house and then Jesse was dropped at the airport.
Sunday I went to church and visited with a few peeps and then spent the rest of the day hanging out with Prince and Linda. Linda is a designer and made Kate a dress out of African fabric (as seen below). And then I visited another family before catching my plane home.
The trip was amazing. It was so great to go back and see how much things have changed. I really hope that I am able to go to Kenya for my PhD research and take Kate to see all the amazing places in Kenya and meet my wonderful friends.
Another successful PIG project meal, this time Algerian and at Thelma’s house in DC. Unfortunately, the only Algerian restaurant in DC, Couscous Cafe, closed its doors a few years ago. Luckily they still cater. Not willing to give up on a crazy idea Kate and I had Couscous Catering make us one amazing feast. It included a most scrumptious dish called Chicken Basteela Pie that was a pastry stuffed with curried chicken that smelled (and tasted) so good Kate was tempted to give up vegetarianism for the weekend (BTW I am no longer calling myself vegetarian). There was also couscous of course – it had a mild flavor and vegetables and was the only think that June, our niece who we were babysitting that evening, would eat (she called it rice).
Due to a miscommunication with Albanian-owned pizza restaurant owner who has agreed to make us a custom Albanian dinner, we had to postpone Albania until next week. Algeria is also in the works. Being the flexible, yet committed, gastronomers* that we are we decided upon a pick-up-potluck this week to knock out three countries that we’re pretty sure there is no restaurant for in the U.S. (at least within reach): Andorra, Angola & Antigua and Barbuda.
I have actually been to Andorra, since it is a teeny, tiny nation in between Spain and France and was part of my mission. Yes, there are Mormons in Europe… even some in Andorra.
If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes, or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. -Anthony Bourdain
On Valentines Day Neil and I were eating at a mediocre restaurant and it struck me that we needed to expand our food repertoire to include foods we’ve never tried before. This idea was also partially inspired by the random Sri Lankan restaurant we tried over Christmas break where we tasted the most delicious food we’ve ever had. SO scrumptious! I believe I called it a “Superb, amazing, taste bonanza!” in the online review. Our adventurousness in cuisine was well rewarded.
Therefore, we launched the PIG Project: Proud International Gastronomers! Gastronomy can be defined as the study of food and culture, and we want to learn more about world politics, geography, culture, dress, dance, language, art, music and people through this project. Fine food is the principle study of gastronomy, and how can you know which food is the finest if you haven’t search the globe??
We will track these adventures in food and culture as noble PIGs on our blog.
Every week we will try to eat an authentic dish from a different country. We will attempt in this general order to acquire authenticity:
- Find a restaurant (within a reasonable proximity) that serves the country’s food
- Find someone from the country & convince them to cook for us
- Find an event at the local association or the Embassy that we can attend
- Make a dish from that country
We’ll strive for the closest thing to authentic dishes we can achieve whenever our pocketbooks will allow! We’ll be following a loose alphabetic order, but never skipping ahead to the easy ones (yes, we have looked at the list below & realize this is a long-term project). If nothing else, this will be a great opportunity to explore, meet new friends and get together with old ones. If you are in the DC area and want to come along, shoot us an email and we’ll keep you posted on where, in the world, we are!
On Friday night we went to do sealings with our ward at the San Diego Temple. It is a majestic building in a holy place. The assignment for our ward was well attended with amazing, amazingly busy people who took time out o their Friday night to serve and worship. The oldest member of the group was, I imagine, close to 80 years old & the youngest probably in her early 20s. I was very impressed by the individual and collective devotion of this eclectic group.
After the temple one of the young couples invited us to Coldstone for ice cream. Never ones to turn down ice cream, we enthusiastically agreed & met them and another couple at the shop. We sat outside with our fudgey gooey treats and conversed in the always perfect San Diego air. We learned a little bit about them, they learned a little bit about us. Often the jovial conversation tends to take a turn for the worst when new people learn a little bit about us. First, they learn we don’t have the same last name. Then, they learn that we met at an anti-Wal Mart film that I screened at BYU. This is when my skeptical shield begins to come up. Glancing at them with distrust I automatically launch into a schpiel about why Wal Mart is a bad place to shop (usually whether or not they questioned the premise with anything more than a raised eyebrow).
Feeling our independent-minded tendencies are exposed I go on the defensive.
The topic in this particular lactose binge chat turned to Proposition 8 which is a big deal in California, especially to Mormons. It is an amendment proposition to amend the California constitution to define marriage as one between a man and a woman only. Most Mormons in the area spend their Saturdays knocking doors & calling people trying to recruit votes for its passage. In fact, we are HIGHLY encouraged to do so every Sunday. (See here for an alternative LDS view about the Proposition).
The girl who invited us to ice cream began talking about gay marriage and the damage she perceived it would do to our society. Perhaps because of my recent immersion into law school, I began to question her assumptions, examples and basic rationalizations. Determined to keep the conversation friendly and Coldstone appropriate I posed all inquiries from a neutral, thought-provoking angle.
However, the conversation quickly escalated and somehow touched on both abortion and the death penalty before you could say, “Jimmany Cricket.” I caught myself semi-shouting “That’s the problem with Republicans…” and the other couple actively jumped up from the table in an attempt to end what they probably perceived to be a potential fist-fight and awkwardly excused themselves and we all got up to end the ice cream social.
The night ended with me stiffly saying, “Ok, great to chat with you guys. Thanks for inviting us. I’ll see you Thursday for visiting teaching. He-heh.”
Needless to say, I don’t think we made any new friends. But, even more disturbingly, I found myself in the old trap that my friend Ash described as interpreting people in the language of my own fears and suspicions. My immediate suspicion of their motives and views kept me from getting to know them and listening to the heart behind their ideas & arguments. I combated pat lines with pat lines and poor logic with poor logic instead of trying to love and see.
Often at church, or school I feel a very “other” feeling. I am the other. “They” don’t think (act, dress, eat) like me.
Friday night, over Germancholattkake ice cream, I realized that that same mentality I have creates the suspicions and hate that I perceive.
My mind is in need of more respect. My heart is in need of softening. My eyes need to automatically look for how we are all the same. My words need to seek to understand not to tear down. My hand needs to gladly reach for the hand of a new friend not suspiciously shake that of the “other.”
My little friend Fadia is five. She is from Iraq. She’s been in the US for almost two months. She learned how to say, “I love you” and was very confused when I answered “I love you too.” She paused and replied, “I love you seven.” Now she always accompanies “I love you” with a number. Isn’t English great?
Kate and I went to the SLC Art’s Festival with some friends. By far the best part of the festival was 3 sweet sweet pounds of deep fried glory. I’m so glad potatoes are vegetables. Well we went into the festival thinking it would be more of an art show then an art shopping mall, alas after the French-fries we didn’t have enough money to support any of the artisan vendors. Actually, there was some great art for sale and Kate even ran into two artisans from her home town of Hood River, OR. The only problem with the entire ordeal was the crowd…lets just say it was a giant termite mound the day before matting season. There were so many people it became impossible to actually stop and look at any of the art for fear of being trampled to death. Luckily we survived the crowd and the fries.
The French-fry man making Kate’s patch of fries. Our friends Jen and Jeremy enjoying the other white vegetable.
A scene on our way out of this year’s SLC Arts Festival.
We have had the enormous pleasure of having two friends in town for the past week. Ashley Sanders & Chris Neilson are on a whirlwind tour of Mexico & Guatemala & have come to San Cristobal for some rest & relaxation that only a strange archaeological compound can offer!
It has been fun to have Ash & Chris join us on the rancho (ie the compound… not really anything like a ranch, except it does have a garden, and is in Mexico). It`s mostly fun because it gives Neil and I a chance to chat with other people. Not that we don`t enjoy each other, but we’ve been hitting it pretty hard lately with only each other to bounce ideas & thoughts off of. And, if you know anything about Ashley Sanders, you know that she LOVES a good conversation. Or any conversation for that matter.
Recent discussion topics have included:
* If you could put in a robotic body part what would it be?
* What do you want to emulate & avoid about your parents?
* What does it mean to live the law of consecration in our day?
* If you had to choose one extreme sport hobby to obsess over, what would it be?
I of course said, Robotic Spine, being supportive but being a more direct communicator, give everything you earn to the Bishop Hugh Nibley style, and four-wheeling in a tricked out H1.
Don`t judge me.