About Me

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Hello! Welcome to my online travel-food-life journal/virtual scrapbook. I am a poet, playwright, journalist, editor and basic jack-of-all-trades writer. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Minnesota. I have just returned home from a year and a half in South Africa.

31 August 2011

Recipe: Spicy-Sweet Chicken

What up kids?

Here is -- FINALLY -- the recipe I promised a while back!

It is fabulous -- incredibly easy and incredibly delicious!

4 chicken legs & 4 chicken thighs, skin off
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soy sauce, dark if you can find it
1 inch ginger, grated
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup jarred peppadews, chopped*
Green parts of 2-3 green onions, chopped

*  Peppadews are a really lovely South African jarred pepper which are very sweet and spicy.  If you're not in South Africa, substitute your favorite chilis or a heaped teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or more, this all depends on your preference) and add another 2 Tablespoons of honey (so it would be a full 1/4 cup of honey total.)

Preheat your oven to 350F/175C.

Whisk all of the ingredients together (except the chicken.)  Pour over the chicken and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip chicken to the other side and bake another 15-20 minutes, till cooked through.

Once out of the oven, sprinkle with green onions.  (I think toasted sesame seeds would be great at this point as well, but I haven't tried that yet ...)

AMAZING with plain white rice and some cucumbers you've sprinkled with sesame seed oil, rice wine vinegar and a little salt.


29 August 2011

Weekend Recap

First though, sorry for the dearth of postings last week.  One of my email accounts was hacked and it cost me much time and aggravation to reset all my passwords, make sure all my accounts were OK, etc.

What makes me really upset is that people were genuinely worried about us (supposedly we were robbed and stranded in Scotland!)  If there is any justice in the karmic sense, I think all hackers should suffer acute pain in their nether regions -- one good tweak for each bogus email sent ... am I wrong?

Anyhoo ... so, as annoying and worrying as the end of the week was, the weekend was AWESOME.  On Friday and Saturday we went to Darling (yes, there is a town here called Darling!) ... it was so excellent that it merits its own post, which I'll do soon.

And then yesterday, we went to Gill and Russell's (they of my first Potjiekos!) to celebrate Norman's birthday:

Look at that cake!:

No, really, take a good look:


Isn't that so cool?  Because remember that Norman IS the real, live Spiderman!

And underneath those little jellies, there was a really scrumptious orange-syrup cake. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get picks of the food this time!  Probably because I was too busy stuffing my face ...  But there were some delicious sausages, pork fillet and ribs done on the braai as well as roasted potatoes and 3 different kinds of salads.  I know, I know, how did I not get pictures?!  I did get pictures of the cats this time though ...

Here's Pepper:

And Ginger ...

They're both so sweet!

And then, here's this fella again:

I got better shots of him this time because we were inside the kitchen when he came up, displaying his feathers and demanding treats!  Apparently he just wandered on to their property one day and never left.  Gorgeous isn't he?  And doesn't he know it!

And look!!!!!:

Gill lent me another huge stack of books!!!  YEY!!!!  I only wish I had my books with me so I could loan her my favorites ...

We also talked to Gill and Russel about traveling to South Africa's various National Parks, which they've been to quite a lot.  We're thinking of taking a trip for my birthday, and they gave us some great advice ...

So all in all, a LOVELY way to end the week ... Hope the start of yours is great!

25 August 2011

District 6 Museum

Before I moved to South Africa, a co-worker gave me a book (more on that later) about a neighborhood which was razed during apartheid called "District Six."  Since reading the book, I couldn't wait to go to the museum that commemorates this neighborhood.  And I have to say, it is one of the most moving and haunting museum visits I've ever had.


Here is some info. from the District Six Museum website:

"District Six was named the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town in 1867. Originally established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants, District Six was a vibrant centre with close links to the city and the port. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, the process of removals and marginalisation had begun. 

The first to be 'resettled' were black South Africans, forcibly displaced from the District in 1901. As the more prosperous moved away to the suburbs, the area became a neglected ward of Cape Town.

In 1966 it was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act of 1950, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. 60,000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers.

The District Six Museum, established in December 1994, works with the memories of these experiences and with the history of forced removals more generally."

The museum is housed in a former church that hosted many anti-apartheid meetings and is stunning.

 Former street signs are displayed 2 stories high:

The floor is covered in a huge map of the area, where former residents have written their memories and poems -- or just simply where they used to live:

Commissioned art pieces -- like a huge mural that fills the back wall -- mix with everyday and household items, a huge name cloth with former residents' messages, family recipes, kids' toys, and really great information displays and time lines:

This mosaic piece is called "District Six, Piece of My Heart" by Patric de Goede and is a collage made of debris from District Six.

The most striking for me were the hundreds of photos and stories of former residents:


I think if there is one issue with the museum, I'd say that the amount of information is almost overwhelming.  Of course, this is probably just because Aaron and I are the worst museum nerds ever.  We WILL read EVERY SINGLE sign.  Every one. 

It's one of the things I love about the dude ... every other person I've ever gone to a museum with gets so impatient with me.  But I can't help it!  And neither can he ... so we did walk out a bit cross-eyed that day ... But it was absolutely worth it.

I walked out of the museum very much thinking -- as so often happens in Cape Town -- of how lucky, lucky, lucky I am, and how much I owe back for that luck.

This plaque called "The Plaque of Shame" was erected on the outside of the church in 1966... I like to think of that small bit of defiance in the midst of apartheid:

Humbling as hell. 

22 August 2011

Best Care Package EVER In the History of the World

Look what just came in the mail!!!!:


Yes kids, that is indeed a bag of MASA!  Do you remember my tale of woe, and how there are no proper tortillas in Cape Town and no Masa Mix with which to make them?  And how the only way I could make masa from scratch involved vats of lime and a grinding stone?

Well thank the heavens above for mothers!  My mom went and spent I don't even want to tell you how much to send me two bags of Masa Mix!!!!

I admit I cried when I opened the package.  It was so sweet and generous of her and felt like a whole big box of love being sent across the ocean!  I now have 8.8 pounds (4 kilos) of masa!!!

And I can finally delve into this part of my Savadoran cookbook, a true testament of the Salvadoran love of corn and masa: