Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for What's Wrong with Your Cake?

Once-upon-a-time, a long time ago, when I was still a young thing. . . .
After the Birthday Gal happily blew our her candles on the carrot cake that I baked, the other student assistant and I cut the cake and served the slices to the Birthday Gal and everyone else in the Department of Secondary Education office. The cake looked yummy. Everyone took a bite. Several people looked puzzled as they chewed.

The gruff teddy bear of a department chair said, "Sue, did you forget to turn on the oven?"


The Teddy Bear Chair examined his cake. "It's flat."

"That's the way it's supposed to be." I said.

"I love it," said the Birthday Gal. "It's just like the cake from home. All full of nuts and carrots. Thank you, Sue."

The Birthday Gal was from Central America. She gave me a hug and took another slice.

The Teddy Bear Chair continued eating his cake. "Have you made this cake before?" he asked.

"First time," I said.

"So, we're your guinea pigs," he said.

"All my cakes are first times," I said. "They're never the same. I don't measure things."

"Ah ha! That's why. Measure next time, Sue." He said, then turned, walking into his cavern of an office with his nearly eaten piece of cake.

Much later, as I sat at my desk, typing paperwork, my supervisor Dr. Who-Writes-Romances-During-Her-Breaks came out from her office behind me. "Sue," she said, her voice full of excitement. "I know what's wrong with your cake."

"Yes," I said, thinking there was nothing wrong with my cake.

"You forgot the flour!" she said. She went back into office with a satisfied look on her face as if she had solved a mystery. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I did use flour.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wild Pink

The Husband and I came across these wild pink roses while walking on the main street of San Juan Bautista last Sunday. A perfect contrast to the sights that we saw during our hike with friends at the Pinnacles National Park. To see some of those amazing sights, please click here to go to my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vegetable Garden

My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.

Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.

When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal.  The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. Guess who tells me not to pick the bitter melon leaves from the top?

The Mama continued growing vegetables after the Daddy died. It was tough, as she was still working. I suppose being in the garden helped her deal with being a widow.

Today, as some of you know, the Mama works a few hours hours nearly every day in her vegetable garden. Along with the Filipino vegetables, the Mama plants green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chives, and Filipino green onions.  Her garden doesn't yield as much as it used to, which is fine with me. There's only so much bitter melon I can eat. The Husband won't eat it and the Mama eats only a bit of it.

Growing vegetables is a fun challenge for the Mama. Her satisfaction comes from seeing other people eat the fruits of her labor.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for the Utensil Choir

Earlier this month, the Husband and I entertained ourselves while he washed dishes and I dried them. The result was a rundown of the utensil choir. This is the make up of the choir, according to the Husband, a musician at heart.
The soup spoon sings bass.  
The special spoon, which is a Korean soup spoon, sings baritone. 
Teaspoons sing soprano, while tablespoons sing alto or tenor. 
Forks sing four-part harmony, of course.
Salad forks? Three-part harmony!
Knives are tone deaf. When they sing, the sound cuts to the heart.
I didn't want the knives to feel left out, so I let them hold the music sheet for everyone.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for 60 Pounds of Tripe

"How come you have so much tripe?" I asked the Mama, as I stared at a large clear plastic bag full of white, honey-combed cow stomach lining.

"Your godfather gave it to me," she said.

"That's a lot of tripe. How many pounds is that?


"What are you going to do with all that tripe?"

"Put it in the freezer."

I lugged the heavy bag to the big freezer in the garage. What the heck? On top of other more frozen items was another large clear plastic bag of tripe.

Just as I closed the freezer, Frances, one of the Mama's friends walked up the driveway. The garage door was open. "Hello. Is your mom home?"

"She's in the house. Come inside," I said.

"I need to get something out of the car first," Frances said. "I have something for your mom."

She ran out of the garage. I opened the door and yelled into the house, "Mama! You have a visitor." Then I went to see if Frances needed help.

As I neared her car, I saw Frances pull out a large white item from her trunk. A blanket? No. Oh no!

Frances handed me a large clear plastic bag full of white, honey-combed cow stomach lining. Another twenty pounds!

"Your mama told me that she was hungry for tripe. She wanted me to buy her some, if I saw any. I was lucky. The butcher had tripe today."

"Thank you," I said. "She's going to be very happy to see the tripe."

That happened a few months after the Daddy died, more than 30 years ago. I have no idea what the Mama did with the 60 pounds of tripe.

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