I showed my students this picture this week to encourage them to complete the cross-cultural section of the language course, and I think it might have worked. On the other hand, I could have just made about 25 people very, very hungry and very, very annoyed at the food they eat in the cafeteria. Either way, they were engaged in learning, right?
Peor es nada
Last week I returned to Ottawa, Ohio, for a more successful trip to Lucero’s Mexican restaurant and store. Not 100% successful, because, well, let’s be honest, I was only transported to Mexico for about 5 minutes, not for the entire time I was eating. I also ordered agua de tamarindo (advertised on bristol board in the handwriting style more common in Mexico than in the US, so I figured it was legit). It was delicious. My friend tried to order tacos al pastor, but they weren’t ready yet. This leads me to believe that they would have really good tacos al pastor, if they marinated them all day. Overall: I rate it highly, because I was transported to Mexico for 5 minutes, but not as high as that delicious place in Toronto. I did not check out their bathrooms, either, so cannot rate those. It was inexpensive, as most restaurants are in the US, and let me feel amazing when I left a 25-30% tip. (Sidebar: I would rather leave normal tips, and have workers be appropriately compensated for hard work, but we do not live in that world.)
Moral of the story: I will return to Ottawa, Ohio. For tacos al pastor.
I had never lived in a small town until I moved to Bluffton two and a half months ago. There are so many things that surprise me about living here. This brief list addresses only those quirks obvious to the newcomer.
1. First and foremost, checks are acceptable everywhere.
2. Second, people are trusting and trustworthy. I could test drive my car without presenting any kind of documentation.
3. Third, this town is not that large. It is officially a village. I run into people I know everywhere. And I don’t even know that many people.
4. On a similar note, Hicksville, Ohio is not where I live. It’s a real town elsewhere in Ohio.
5. All the signs I saw when I got here about protecting religious freedom have to do with people not wanting the ACA to allow insurance companies to provide for birth control. There is someone else in town whose house has a sign that says the second amendment makes the others possible. I wanted to make a sign that said “protecting my religious freedom” but to advocate for gun control.
6. In the morning sometimes there’s fog that lifts off the fields of corn that I can see if I go jogging. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.
Last week was my fall break, so I had a four day weekend. This was a good chance to get caught up, although when I went to my office on Tuesday I was shocked that no one else was there. On Tuesday at lunchtime, the day got a bit more exciting. A person in my new town seemed to be excited about going to a Mexican store and restaurant in a nearby town called Ottawa – she had spent some time in Ciudad Juárez. So we went in search of some delicious food.
The Mexican store and restaurant, both called Lucero’s, were closed. Because it was Tuesday. And there were no posted hours, nor could we call the number for the store or the restaurant (they are attached to one another) because AT&T didn’t have service there. And neither of us had Verizon. This was disappointing because the store looked very Mexican: the Virgin of Guadalupe and San Judas Taddeo (St Jude Thaddeus) featured prominently, and in the restaurant, a handwritten sign advertised the day’s aguas frescas (fresh fruit juice). This was perhaps the most disappointing thing to miss.
Ohio redeems itself through tacos
The trip redeemed itself through a delicious lunch at another Mexican restaurant. I had tacos al pastor, which were not the best tacos al pastor I have ever had, but they were decent. Unlike Tu Pueblo (the Mexican restaurant in Bluffton) they were made out of pork, and came on small corn tortillas. I would say that they were on par with tacos from the Salón Corona in Mexico City. I will return Ottawa for more tacos. Hopefully from Lucero’s.
I know and love many recipes in More-with-Less, especially the basic cooked lentil variation, lentil curry, p 105. Second to that, the basic cooked lentil variation, lentil stew. With farmer sausage from Saskatchewan (yes. that is the best. end of story.) A more recent favourite within the last five years is Vegetables au Gratin, around p 120. I was introduced to this dish by our family friends when they come to my parents’ house to eat ham on Boxing Day. At the same time as their daughter received disambiguation lessons regarding hats and tea cozies I learned about this delightful dish.
Vegetables au gratin
I love this dish because it is basic, simple and delicious, the cornerstone to success when cooking. It is basically frying up four cups of vegetables, plus a third of an onion (remembering that this is a cookbook designed for people who think black pepper is a spice led me to add more). I used broccoli and cabbage – although cauliflower would also be delicious. Then, putting these vegetables into a white sauce. I modified this recipe by using almond milk, corn meal and olive oil of imprecise quantities rather than the cream, flour and margarine the recipe called for. Then, you coat it in cornflakes. Instead of cornflakes I used some kind of nut-based cracker. There are perils to living above a natural food store in a town with a grocery store that smells funny. I put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Since I didn’t make the whole recipe, and only I have a 9 x 13 pan and a spring form pan, I used the spring form to bake it.
A final note: I didn’t make a whole recipe if we went by MWL’s calculations, I should have been able to eat it for 4-6 meals. This is not how long it lasted.