Friday, November 2, 2012

A Trip into Town

            Most evenings, Ivan and I follow dinner with a walk around campus.  We try (not always successfully) to drag along our downstairs neighbor, David, who is happy for the break, when he can afford it.  Towards the end of our walk, we pass the black sand beach which is west of campus and gated off (with barbed wire and locks and chains), for what I would assume are safety reasons.  A couple weeks ago I took my SLR along for the walk, with the intent of snapping a few pictures of the very full, very large moon that hung on the horizon.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to the western edge of campus, and an ideal spot to take a photo, clouds had overtaken the moon and the moment was lost.  As we walked by the black sand beach, though, I saw a red hazy spot on the horizon, where the moon’s light cast a sort of sunset glow from behind the clouds.  I went up to the fence, hunkered down and started taking photos.  As they waited, Ivan and David began to notice movement in the grass around me.  As it turned out, I’d waltzed right into a whole colony of hermit crabs!
            The glaring full moon may have dipped out of sight, but I didn’t regret taking my nicer camera that evening after the opportunity for such funny pictures!

Black sand beach and a red moon glare

            On a food related subject:
            Last week, I got together with a couple friends to make homemade Tootsie Rolls.  Yes, that’s right; I said, homemade Tootsie Rolls.  Gwynne provided the place, utensils and ingredients.  Kristina played the part of chef, getting her hands good and dirty while kneading the… batter?  Dough?  I’m not sure what it would be referred to, perhaps a dough-like batter substance.  And I bobbed in and out, taking photos.
            We rolled and rolled chunks of our Tootsie Rolls in waxed paper, until we had collapsing mounds of them.  Then the treats were divvied up and we all took some home with us.  Though not a spot on recreation of the Tootsie Roll we’re all used to, I will say they were quite delicious and unbelievably addicting!  However fun eating them was, making them was equally enjoyable.  If you are so inclined, I’d recommend having a few friends over to try this recipe out.  (And if you want to have even more fun, chocolate martinis would pair very well with your hand-crafted candies.)

            Recently, Ivan and I tried a new fruit, which is always fun.  The sugar apple is a relative of the soursop; though I found it to be sweeter and less intimidating than its cousin.  The fruit can be pulled apart easily and each nub that is peeled off has a chunk of soft fruit attached.  So it’s relatively simple to eat.  We enjoyed it and would love to get more but I swear the stuff is never available!

            Last Saturday, Ivan and I made a trip to St. George.  We wanted to hit up the spice market to gather a few odds and ends to bring home with us.  I also wanted to get a smoothie from the bakery in the Esplanade Mall because I can’t seem to get enough smoothies on the island.  And we wanted to have a look around the duty free store in the mall as well.  (FYI to my fellow Grenada inhabitants—if you want to get a duty-free item, maybe as a gift, you can do so two days prior to leaving the country, with proof of your flight.)
            I found my “spice lady”—that is, the stall at the spice market where I always go—and got a wine bottle of vanilla extract, two big bags of saffron, a bag of cinnamon, a bag of whole nutmegs and a bottle of hot sauce.  Walking through the spice market is an interesting experience.  The first time I visited St. George, I was utterly overwhelmed.  From every stall, vendors are calling out to you.  Peddlers follow you around, pushing their crafts on you, trying to make you hold their hand-made necklaces or try on the unique bracelets.  My first visit, frankly, was miserable.  But now, I think going to the market is great!  There’s this hectic charm and energy that is almost festival in nature.  To save the need to excuse yourself again and again, though, it helps to visit the market with a specific shopping list in mind and, if you can, a specific destination list as well.  Getting waylaid in St. George can cost you money.
The box of cocoa is just added to compare size (that's a lot of vanilla!)

            Just before heading back to the school, we stepped into the Fish Market, unsure of how much we’d find so late in the morning.  Mostly tuna and red snapper were all that was left, though trays of small fish were still being displayed and one fishmonger had Mahi Mahi.  We looped in and out of customers before finding a short line that led to a woman who was hacking away at a fabulous looking hunk of tuna.  When it was our turn, I asked for three pounds, cut into smaller portions.  Obligingly, the woman heaved a slab of pink meat onto the block in front of her and brought a machete down into it, cutting halfway through.  She picked up a wooden club and proceeded to beat at the base of the machete’s blade, forcing it through the rest of the fish until a thick wedge peeled away and slapped against the slimy wooden cutting board.  Our vendor tossed the chunk onto a scale before cutting it into smaller portions and bagging it.  Ivan mentioned quietly that we should freeze the fish thoroughly before cooking it.  I looked over the blood- and mucus-covered work area, porous and stained wooden club, old machete, and the scales that stuck to our fishmonger’s thick, glossy forearms as she took my money and returned a damp handful of change.  Yes, I agreed with Ivan’s sentiment.

            Tonight I intend to cook up some of that tuna.  And I intend to enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. Your post may have just given me enough bravery to try the sugar apple. :)