Friday, November 30, 2007

Visiting Uncle Pete

When P and I were young and innocent we visited the relatives of J, our Afro-American friend, while we were travelling through the Deep South of the US. They lived in the boondocks of South Carolina, and we had trouble finding them, so we asked in a convenience store in a small town.
Oh, yes! They knew him. They knew that ole’ nigger, said the white owner. And he did, for his directions brought us to the farm.
Uncle Pete was expecting us. But he wasn’t expecting us to be white. We saw the double take he was trying to hide. The white salesman, however, with whom he was doing business at that moment, was quicker to react. He immediately came up to us and shook our hands. Why? Because we were one of his kind?
Uncle Pete quickly recovered from the shock and received us most warmly. We were introduced to his children and his grandchildren, who all flocked to the house, living nearby.
Aunt Jemima fed us a gorgeous meal with fried chicken and black-eyed peas and kale, and we all sat around the table talking and eating.
Jo, uncle Pete’s son had us completely sussed. We were Dutch, right? P worked at the Dutch embassy, right? Well, he knew how to deal with spies. Charm the hell out of them, that’s what one did. And so he talked and talked, and told jokes and slapped P on the back.
He was a charming man, and we only learnt later that he hadn’t trusted us at all.
We took a little walk on the land, and were introduced to more people. One of them, a retired fieldhand, had the clearest lake-blue eyes in his dark brown shining face. Absolutely stunning!
We then joined the family on their visit to the church, and sat as guests of honour in the front row. We were welcomed by the reverend in his sermon and had to stand up. Paul made a little impromptu speech of gratitude.
After the service everybody crowded around us. They all wanted to shake our hands, to touch us. They all wanted to greet and welcome us. The fieldhand also made his way up to us through the throng. “Remember me?” he asked. I think it was a test. All blacks look alike to a white girl, don’t they? But how could I forget those amazing eyes!
I was too young and shy to say it then, so I will say it now: I have never forgotten the most beautiful blue eyes in that old wrinkled black face!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Adam's Cuddles

For a while we had the routine of feeding the cats extra wet food in the cellar. At the same time we would clean the litter box.
This would be Adam’s moment of rapprochement. Gradually he would venture more and more, and we would tell each other of conquests: Now he rubbed against my legs, Now he turned over on his back.
We have stopped the tasty snacks. The old cat who needed them most turned his nose up at them.
Still Adam prefers to be petted in the cellar in the morning. Elsewhere in the house he is wary and evasive.
When we go down to clean the litter box, he runs before us on the steps and starts nuzzling them. He rubs against our shoes, he begs for the hand to stroke him.
He gets no food, just cuddles. It is Pavlov all over.

And Eva? She sits at a safe distance and wonders what this is all about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Peanut Soup

To compliment the left-overs of a delicious stir-fry dinner I made peanut soup.

Fry sliced onions with two or three cloves of garlic and grated fresh ginger in (peanut) oil.
When soft add a tablespoon, or two, of peanut butter and enough water to make a soup consistency.
Add spices like ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamon (all c's!), depending on your taste and your larder.
Add some honey or brown sugar.
Don't forget to spice it with either red pepper, or tabasco. Or add chopped chilli pepper to the initial fry.
Cook for half an hour or more. Mash with the mini masher.
Adjust seasoning and serve with chopped scallions on top.

To make peanut sauce, follow the same recipe, but use less water.
Serve with stir fries.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


De koning was verwaand. Zijn tenen lang. Hij wenste ze niet te laten vertrappen door een piepkuiken, dat nog maar net de arena betreden had. Dus dineerde hij in zijn eigen statiezaal, ver van de mĂȘlee van het strijdtoneel.
Minzaam hief hij het glas naar het gepeupel, deze verwende koning bullebak.

Tot de apotheose kwam. Totdat de koning gekroond werd tot zonnegod. Toen schreed hij trots en welgedaan door de gangen van het paleis, de onderdanen buigend om hem heen.
De deuren werden opengegooid voor zijn grootse entree: de koning had overwonnen. Alweer.

En het piepkuiken feliciteerde hem.