In the past three months, I’ve attended a Diwali (The Hindi celebration of Light in the Darkness) in my rural Kansas town, thanks for my friends and colleagues from India. Two days later, I had a wonderful Filipino meal, which included Pancit, stews, and bread. There I watched as my friends, Karen and Jonathan, parents witnessed their first snowfall, back in November. All this while, I had the honor of interacting with a wide range of folks. I learned a little more about them by sharing in their cultural celebrations and the foods of their regions and countries. It’s my favorite thing to do! I walk away, a little fuller in my stomach, heart, and mind. I will chronicle some of the events, here. The food from the Diwali included curry spices, chick peas, basmati rice, potatoes, chicken, and, in the white bowl, Gulab Jamun, these wonderful little pastry-like rounds soaked in syrup. This food fed my soul!
Eating with my friends, who hail from the Philippines, we were treated to pancit, a clear noodle and vegetables dish with lovely flavors of garlic and savory flavors of pork (the preference of our host). We were also treated to a stew with beef and Lumpia, a spring roll of vegetables and meat. Yes! Also the first snow for Karen’s parents!
Well, it’s been a few weeks since this pleasant evening out on the porch, but I’ve wanted to tell you about it for a while. We call it, “Happy Hour”. We each bring food and drink to share. In addition to the homemade pizzas, cheese, and dessert that I offered, my friends brought cooked carrots, the best Leche de flan from my friend, Karen, who apparently learned to bake this velvety, smooth custard in her home country of the Philippines. She’s pictured above with her parents’ first snow fall while on a visit to the U.S. Another friend offered her sweet carrots, and another brought apple cobbler, and we had chicken pot pie. In such “happy hours”, I’d say the conversation stands as the most important aspect with food bringing up a close second. I found it interesting that, on this particular occasion, the men sat outside, and the women sat inside. Hmmmm….I wonder why this happened.
For an appetizer, I made my own type of Bourisin cheese by draining whole-milk, Greek style yogurt in a hanging cheese cloth. I added my own blend of dehydrated vegetables for a tangy cheese spread. One of my favorite things to do is make pizza dough and have all the trimmings of vegetables, meats, cheeses, sauces (marinara and pesto are my favorite sauces to have available), and attendees make their own pizzas. We have a great time. Here are some of the offerings for this lovely October evening: 1) My “Boursin” cheese nestled in a clay pot, 2) Baked pizza with pesto, and 3) Leche de Flan