Thursday, March 26, 2020

Felicitations From Fairhope #02

Follow-up From Fairhope #02
01 April 2020

[Ongoing Viral Sidebar - This series of postings - six in total - was completed before we were all engulfed by the advent of The Virus. We now live in a time where almost everything not health-related seems somehow frivolous. That may well be, but the world spins on and so I might as well get these out the door.] 

Six Postings on Five Continents (cont.)


Accra - Rich, spicy, and cooked with deliciously bad-for-you-and-the-environment palm oil.
- Banku (fermented maize and cassava dough) with goat stew
- Jollof rice
- Kenkey (boiled maize dough) with fried fish
- Red-red (cowpeas served with fried plantains)

Pretoria - ZA food was great and very eclectic.
- Boerewors (sausage, grilled on the braai)
- Bobotie (spiced minced meat with an egg and milk topping, baked)
- Potjiekos (meat, potatoes, veggies cooked in a pot)
- Biltong (jerky made from an astounding variety of mammals)
- Savory pancakes
- Springbok carpaccio
- Very fine wines

Washington, DC - There is a wide variety of really good food available in DC, from the familiarly exotic (Ethiopian) to the deliciously dangerous (Ben’s Chili Bowl.)

Buenos Aires - There is less variety in BsAs than one might expect, but the big deal is, of course, meat. Except for burgers (which we made at home), we made a point of going out to a local parillia whenever we had a craving for it.
- Lomo (tenderloin, medium rare) 
- Patagonian lamb (grilled over an asado)
- Empanadas (ubiquitous)

[Frozen Confection Sidebar - Two blocks from our apartment was a gelato shoppe that had a Monday Special: 2-for-1 kilos of ice cream. OMG.]

Yangon - After Argentina, Myanmar was a serious change of pace. Rice, rice, and more rice, so we ate virtually no red meat for two years. Which was just fine.
- Mohinga (rice noodles covered in a fish soup, served for breakfast)
- Nan Gyi Thoke (thick rice noodles with chicken curry, garnished with onions, chilies, crispy noodles, hard-boiled egg, and lime)
- Shan noodles
- Fish curry

[SE Asian Culinary Sidebar - We spent a few days in and out of Hanoi, and it bears repeating: Vietnamese food is among the Top 5 cuisines on the planet.]

Rome – The best part of living in Rome, culinarily speaking, is the ready availability of fresh fruits and veggies, interesting cured meats and cheeses, and – most importantly – really good bread. Like, everywhere. (Finding really good bread in Alabama can be a challenge.)

[Italian Culinary Heresy Sidebar - While pizza dough should be delicious, it exists to serve as a delivery system for tasty toppings, which are, after all, the point. This is why New Haven pizza, to site one example, is better than Roman pizza. Also, you’d be amazed at how often Italian restaurants undercook their pasta. I’m pretty good with pasta, and “al dente” does not mean “crunchy.”]


Accra - Colonized by Great Britain, so English is widely spoken. I am not good with languages and had no chance whatsoever with the local dialects.

Pretoria - 11 official languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu; including English, of course.

Washington, DC - Again with the Brits.

Buenos Aires - Yep, them again; but Spanish prevails. In three years, I attained the proficiency of a not terribly dim 5-year old. I make no apologies.

Yangon – Yet more British influence, which is lucky for me, since Burmese is impossible. Although it is a beautiful written language. Looks like bubbles.

Rome - As lame as my Spanish is, my Italian is worse. I kept trying, but still tended to panic and default to español, which resulted in much Roman amusement. Fortunately, most urban Italians speak some English and, of course, hand gestures are always appropriate and even helpful.

To be continued…

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