“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.”
What a year 2020 has been!
But I will not dwell on it, you know as well as everyone else, and no doubt you have your own share of stories, I will focus on a positive note.
Through my life despite an introverted character that pulls me hard towards seclusion, and the act of going out of the house not unpleasant, but certainly I see it as a task, or a chore, I rather would like to do the things I enjoy more, like drinking my coffee through my lips slowly, in the company of a good book, or with a nice small group of friends sharing diner, or cuddling up with my loved one, not that I have one at the moment, well let’s get to the point I need exercise for my body, this covid-19 quarantine, has being a real disaster on my efforts to be in shape, and with the never ending pandemic in sight, now since a month decided to do 25 minutes from my old routines, that I used to do years ago, at my Dojo.
Before the pandemic my only source of exercise was to walk for all my errands daily, carrying my groceries, or whatever back to home, and since I live far enough from where I do my errands, this was always enough to keep me in shape, without worrying about getting out of shape.
But I confess doing my old routines in the backyard, it’s not only tough, and demanding, but boring, doing it by myself.
So, since last week I decided after my workout, to supplement it, with a walking around my neighborhood through two parks, one small, and the other larger, but do it at a very early hour hoping will not be crowded, to my surprise I was right, at that hour there was almost nobody, except for very few people, but as I observed them realized all of them were old like myself , and even some even older!
Most of them by themselves, few older couples, and all of them at safe a distance, not exactly a crowd, by any means, but what amazed me more was this really old, and heavy lady with a special cane for walking, she really has to do a great effort, and don’t believe she walks short distances, despite her obvious efforts in walking, I have seen her now all over the place since!
Now, reflecting life is tough, and full of hardships, but we old folks, who have cling to it for quite a while, we must find life also precious, to hang around just a little bit more, if we can.
Old news, but how was your Thanksgiving day?
Now hope you all guys despite traveling limitations had a nice Thanksgiving, I got to confess the tradition in America was foreign to me, before my time in the US Thanksgiving was just a day you go to church and offer thanks to the Lord, then you out of church go back to your daily routine, not a special day after, in anyway.
So when arriving in the US and finding it was a general Holliday, and a precious one, where you go to be together with family members before Christmas, well it was new to me.
I got to confess I was invited, a few times to some people’s home, Thanksgivings, specially by a good friend and his mother of German origin who prepared delicious dinners for us.
But as a guest, myself never hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, but I have a tale of making a foreign dish, and taking it to a Thanksgiving gathering, at the house of a cousin of my current girlfriend at the time, quite some years ago.
Nowadays here in America everybody is a gourmand, but it was not always so, the late eighties, and early nineties, saw an explosion of a new bug, the taste of foreign cuisines. In my opinion now we are kind of spoiled we enjoy the food from almost all over the World, on our own cities, when before asking for a foreign delicacy was almost unheard of, even supposedly foreign restaurants catered stuff like Chinese Chop-Suey, or Italian spaghettis with meat balls, as examples of what we passed for a foreign dish, or as an old friend of mine used to say: “A Chef Boyardee can out of the grocery shop, that was Italian food for me then, imagine! And I used to think, what’s the big deal about Italian food?”
Rut Tam wrote:
‘My family’s food went from ‘Chinese grossness’ to America’s ‘hottest food trend. The lengths to which immigrant families have gone to hide the way we feed ourselves break my heart.’
Well back to my story, my girlfriend was supposed to cook a dish, whatever she wished to do, I had been along with her the year before, and my girlfriend spent the better of a day cooking a dish and complaining what an ordeal it was.
As the days went on, the next year approached to Thanksgiving, my girlfriend started to dread the idea, of cooking another dish for the gathering, seeing her distress, and remembering all her worries and nervous state she got, not to say the mood she will get into, I offered to stop worrying about it, this year will be my time to do a dish, to take to her cousin’s Thanksgiving.
She was relieved, but every day first thing on the morning, she will ask me:
“Have you thought about what you are going to cook for Thanksgiving?
To which I will replay nonchalantly: “Not really, but do not worry I will think of something to cook, just leave it to me.”
But as the day approached she got really worried and pestered me the day before Thanksgiving, I mean she was close to a nervous breakdown!
I said to her: “Stop worrying I will cook them a Mole.”
“A Mole, dear.”
“I never heard of such a thing!”
“Well it’s a very well known Mexican dish.”
She replied: “Well you better get going now, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! And where are the groceries?”
“ I will pick them up this evening after work” was my calm reply, and I did, that evening went to the market and picked all I needed.
My girlfriend thought I will spend all night laboring on it, I just told her: “Look I will wake up real early, and the Mole will be ready before we have to go into the car on the way to your cousin, meanwhile you go and do whatever, but please I do not want you behind my shoulder a nervous rag watching me cook, go for a walk, relax get a hot bath, and get your outfit ready, or whatever you need to do like putting gas on the car.
So I start cooking with the kitchen all to myself, and by the time she got ready, my dish was almost done, she come into the kitchen saying:
“God! That stuff you are cooking it’s all over the place, does not smell bad, but what the hell is Mole?”
Coming behind me, her eyes went as big as saucers when she saw the big pot with mole brewing.
She just went ballistic! In all truthfulness I could not blame her, she has never seen Mole before and the way it looks may surprise many, in an off way.
She tried to stay calm but she told me and with good reason, nobody will like to even try it.
For the first time she put a little seed of doubt on my mind, and even told her: “Look if you do not want it, we can leave it here, and buy whatever prepared food you want.”
Not wanting to hurt my feelings she just reluctantly went along, I loaded the Mole into the car, making sure it would not roll out, and spill. After taking a shower we went off, during the way she expressed her doubts people will like it.
I just told her: “Look if no one like it at least I will have something to eat myself” My Mole was not your usual stuff, it was a vegetarian Mole, I have being a Vegetarian for most of my life since I was seventeen, and I was not about to eat turkey, anyway.
It was a gorgeous drive day by the coast, and we got to her cousin’s house and put my Mole on the large table, her cousin was also somewhat alarmed when se took the lead off, but she just asked what the name of it was.
A few minutes later with most of the people invited already there she, announced everybody to pick up a plate and go and self serve, on a line at the table, I did not rush, and took my place at the line, I could observe everybody passing over my dish, first looking at it with surprise, on their eyes, and bypassing it without touching it.
When my time came I served myself some mashed potatoes and a big quantity of my Mole on top of it, already figuring I will be the only one eating it.
I went to the patio and sat a table and the husband of her cousin sat in front of me, with his plate, and immediately he noticed the Mole on my plate and he hesitantly asked me:
“What’s that you are eating?”
He got curious and said to me: “Pardon me, I am curious, will you mind if I have a little taste of your plate?
Pushing the plate in front of him I said; Sure help yourself to it”
He did, took a forkful, and not three seconds after he put it on his mouth, without saying a word he jumped suddenly off the table with his own plate, and took off almost running into the kitchen.
My first thought was he didn’t like it, and went to spit it out from his mouth, away from me, not to offend me. Looking at the tables couldn’t see any of my Mole at anyone’s plate.
To my surprise the husband whose name I can’t recall, a dentist, returned a couple of minutes later with a new big plate with my Mole almost overflowing from his plate!
As soon as he sat and started eating it, he would stop chewing for a moment, raving loud enough for some people to hear him clearly, about how delicious it was!
Soon, one, by one of the people on our table got up with their plates, and shy at first, put just a little bit on their plates, but after taking a couple of bites, they will rise again and run into the kitchen coming back with full plates loaded with Mole. I guess word got around, and almost everybody from the about twenty-five people at the gathering, went back to the kitchen to get some of it.
I took a breath of relief, and people wanted to know who cooked that dish, and what was the name of it, and congratulated me.
I finished my plate, and went into the kitchen to find my girlfriend’s cousin, and a friend of her, both taking turns at licking the gravy sauce with their fingers, of the already empty big pot.
My girlfriend was behind me, and saw them in disbelief, there was plenty of turkey, and all other dishes at the big table but my Mole was all gone!
As her cousin finished polishing my pot, with her fingers over the sink, and licking the last vestiges of the gravy from it.
Turning to my surprised girlfriend, I mockingly said:
“No one will even eat it, right?”
Her cousin, or the other woman said: “Are you kidding? If I would not worry about getting it all over my head I will stick my face into the pot, and lick it!”
On our way back home she fumed: “And the worst part of it, I still do not know how Mole tastes, promise me you will cook it again for me, you could have saved some for me!”
“You wasted your chance today dear, maybe if I am in the mood for Mole on Christmas, I will cook some. ”
I guess, that was one of my small contributions, to the broadening for cultural foreign food appreciation, in our country.