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    Antananarivo, Madagascar

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  1. The dinner went really well: The invited family had never heard of jambalaya or gumbo before, but liked them both, but the donuts were the real hit of the evening: My son supervised the two oldest of the guests' children, to shake hot donuts in a bag with cinnamon sugar. I remember how happy Fastnacht kuchen used to make me as a child. With half the donut dough remaining, I mixed in dried candied fruit peel, and let it do its third rise in the refrigerator. After the guests left, I put the loaf into the oven (with a milk bath). 30 minutes later: Success!!
  2. It was in French to advertise to their *African* customers that it was red pepper. My back still aches from the adrenalin dump! The take home lesson? Don't start cooking without a cup of coffee in you!
  3. Aarrgh, this is starting to be more appropriate to the, "I will never again" thread. The doughnut dough is on its second rising, but for a while there it was like something out of, "Batholomew Cubbins and the Ooblek" The diections say to, "add another cup of flour, or as much as needed to make a stiff dough." Subjective, much? I guessed as long as dough was still sticking to the mixing spoon, it wasn't stiff. Dump In more flour, mix, evaluate, frown, repeat. Now it's covered by a towel on top of the gas stove. In the spirit of, "More is more" I called off work today to stay home cooking. I think part of me is just plain giddy about having a paycheck after a year - which means having enough food to share. I started making Cajun seasoning after looking up the ingrediants. I will never again "taste test" a box labeled "piment rouge" to see if it's paprika. No I will not.
  4. If I had a punk band I'd name it, "Tad Gloppy". 😄
  5. South of the equator = Summer = rainy season. Cyclone Francisco smacked us last weekend.
  6. So I started the fastnach kuchen batter last night for the first rising, and it looks like waffle batter this morning (sigh). I'll punch it down, add lots more flour, and hope this self-corrects on the second rising.
  7. Oh, my goodness, this expat is drooling. I've been craving a good hot dog, and they were served at lunch at the workplace Friday. No condiment but ketchup, rolls were sweetish potato variety. Didn't quite scratch the itch. For sauerkraut, I can only buy it in giant cans of charcouterie - and those are some rubbery weenies, man. My favorite variety is "with the works" in NYC, but at home it's with with kraut simmered in chicken broth and caraway seeds, with a slather of whole grain mustard.
  8. Grocery shopping here in Africa means always having bills in your pocket: You never know when the crab man is going to knock on your door with a dozen kilos of hard-plated racers. Or when someone squatting on the side of the street will have Asian apple-pears (score!!) The man with the zebu herd sells me unpasteurized milk 1.5 liters for 80 cents: He comes by my desk at work every Monday morning. At church on Sunday I get two dozen freshly-laid eggs from another congregant, who uses the money towards his school fees. My neighbors are always curious what I bring home in my basket: Baguettes at 05:45? I'm a good Malagasy housewife. Did you really mean to buy a kilo of mustard greens, Madame? It's much more than transactional, it's relational here......
  9. Thanks for the encouragement to keep it simple!
  10. As one of the few American families in our congregation, and with a social debt outstanding, I invited the pastor his wife and household for an American-style Mardi Gras! (OK, maybe no mention of how one earns beaded necklaces!) They're from the RSA, and as Evangelicals, completely unaware of the tradition of Lent or it's "id" forerunner, Fasching/Carnivale/Mardi Gras. No alcohol, right? So already a little different. No file powder, paprika only in the Indian grocery stores, and small children under five, so no King cake. Scrounging, I can do jambalaya, corn bread, gumbo z'herbes, and fastnacht kuchen for dessert. I explained it's got a birthday party vibe - nothing formal - and I'll find party hats and noisemakers. I hope to find zydeco music to play during dinner!!
  11. A half kilo of Cheerios in this context means?
  12. Genus. I'm gonna blame auto-correct on this one. Wikipedia is my source; beta vulgaris is a big family, but they are all tasty.
  13. They cater to the Buddhist customers! Beijing has quite a few vegetarian restaurants, especially around the lamaseries.
  14. I can't go back and quote the posted picture, but one of the "vegetable oddities" photographed in the market is rainbow chard/Swiss chard. Beta vulgaris, since you like to list things by genius and species name! Fantastic veggies. Stir fried or steamed with a bit of garlic and then topped with a pat of butter or vinegar? Heaven!
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