Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And the Roaming Animal of the Day is...

…the cow!  Massive and dull-witted, these cud chewing mammals are well-known for their production of milk, cow pies and the Big Mac.  We owe them a great round of applause, but the one I ran into this afternoon just got a moment of stupefied silence and a few seconds in my viewfinder.  The stupefied silence is expected since I figured a goat was the only farm animal I was likely to run into on the island.  Beef is pretty hard to get; the only cheese locally produced is goat cheese; I buy my milk reconstituted in a carton at room temperature; I’ve only seen goats around the island.  So I just figured there were no cows in Grenada.  Today, I was wrong.  There are cows in Grenada, but they seem to be treated just like the goats: there are no formal fields, so you just drop off your cow wherever there’s grass and let them do their thing.  As we walked back from the school this afternoon (I got my ID badge!), we stumbled across two cows (actually, one was a bull), just mowing someone’s front yard.  Seriously, they were right next to the sidewalk with no one tending to them, nothing to stop them from walking right out in the road, just munching the grass.

Welcome to the cooking episode:

We scored a whole pile of golden apples from the backyard today.  They don’t look that appetizing, I know, but Ivan scrubbed them up till they shone and the skin is peeled of before they’re eaten anyway.  With five of the apples, I made golden apple juice—a tart, light drink good for warm weather.  The rest we’re saving to put in our oatmeal.

Last night we were really craving something sweet.  We had nothing on hand since we’ve only been able to buy food for meals, no extra cookies or treats.  So I cooked up some rice, poured in some coconut milk, snipped dates, mango, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and a dash of rum, then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours.  I have to say, it turned out pretty well.  I think it’s something we’ll try again and, if you’re a risk-taker, I’d advise you try it also!

Today, since we inhaled the rice medley (above) and still hoped for some dessert, we made no bake cookies!  We didn’t have any peanut butter because the stuff costs about 1/3 of our weekly food budget for one jar.  So we just skipped that ingredient.  No problem; they still managed to turn out fab and addictive!

For dinner, we had some breaded snapper with a kidney bean relish.  I think the relish would have been better if I had been able to get ahold of some cilantro, but many of the locals have never heard of it and the Indian store up the road (Ali’s) said the cilantro is delivered on Thursdays only.  Regardless, I would classify it as not only palatable, but a repeat-friendly recipe.

Every Tuesday, some locals sell eggs on campus.  All of the students stock up on their week’s supply at that time.  Around noon, then, we scooted over there and bought 30 eggs for $17 EC, which roughly converts to $6.39 USD.  (Because they are considerably more affordable than fish or meat here, we have come to the conclusion that eggs are the best means of attaining much needed protein during our stay.)  The eggs are brown—like all the eggs on the island—which is not a problem for Ivan and I, who have never been partial to the perfect little white eggs.  And they are not uniform in size, which can make closing an egg carton difficult.  And they were not refrigerated when we bought them (in fact, they were warm, like the chicken had only just squeezed them out).  And we had to walk back home, holding them, in the midday sun.  Well, they’re in the fridge now, but you will be the first to know if one miraculously hatches.

We have been running in the mornings.  We run a different path each day to keep the routine fresh.  When we’re unable to whisk the sweat from our foreheads quickly enough, we come home and do a few rounds of sit-ups and pushups.  This is what I like to refer to as formal exercise.  We also have the informal exercise.  Since we don’t own a car, we do a lot of walking each day.  We have not ridden the bus since Saturday, and have not had a single day in which we did not leave the house to complete some errands.  We walk, at minimum, an hour a day.  Typically, this under an unimpeded sun, up and down hills, carrying groceries.  My point is, we are getting a lot of exercise and have daily experience of the purifying benefits of pore cleansing via uninhibited sweat-release.  Our caloric intake has increased and, one after another, are constantly poking around for more food.  Fondly I remember the days when “poking around for food” meant a handful of chips.  Here we are eating plain bread or oatmeal for the sheer calories and carbohydrates.  (Now you get my food post above, right?)

What I notice about the citizens: they are thin, you will not see very many fat Grenadians, (and no wonder, considering what I just wrote); they do not smoke, there aren’t many brands to choose from, and it is rare to smell cigarette smoke unless a foreigner is nearby; they often look surly until you greet them, then you get a big smile, (this is not the case with most of the foreigners [i.e. students and tourists], who avert their eyes when crossing your path).

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