18 February 2016

Well, Clarice . . . Have The Lambs Stopped Screaming?

If there were only a few foods remaining on the planet, I’d hope for dolmas and hummus . . . and lemon meringue pie. I could eat dolmas three times daily and probably never tire of them. Rusty possesses less enthusiasm for the stuffed grape leaf. No one knows why. Similarly, he’s not the fan of hummus that I am. That said, he dons an air of indignation when I state to anyone that Rusty hates hummus. I make hummus often and I usually eat all of it, save and except that first spoonful out of the food processor when I ask Rusty to taste-test for seasoning. So perhaps hate is too strong. But believe me, of every item in our refrigerator, hummus is probably Rusty’s last go-to food. 

Clearly, we're here for a discussion of food and not the myriad adventures experienced with our recent guests. Yes, we visited Buena Vista Lodge, the Diria coffee tour and Rio Celeste. But before we delve into those adventures, let's cover food . . . one of my favorite topics.

My brilliant friend Rob visited us for a few weeks. The first week of his visit Rob was joined by his darling sister, Jenny. Jenny was a special treat in that we'd never met her and were delightfully surprised at every turn. But back to my beloved Rob. Rob eats. Rob cooks, but mostly Rob eats. Rob is easy to please when it comes to cooking; but he’s not easy to fill-up. Did I mention that Rob eats? Long before Rob’s arrival we had discussed making sausage . . . for selfish, hunger-driven reasons, of course; but also as sort of a tribute to our mutual friend, EBJ (in my mind, the Sausage King of Detroit). 

Well, since the meat grinder was coming out of its kitchen home for homemade Italian sausage, why not grind some lamb for dolmas? No reason . . . except the challenge finding a nice cut of lamb in Costa Rica . . . and identifying the Tico word for lamb. 

Rob lives in Africa . . . presently in Chad. I first met Rob in French-speaking Burkina Faso; so Rob and I know every word in French for lamb (and I mention this because there’s the word for a lamb in the pasture and a different word for the cooked lamb on your dinner plate). We also both speak lamb . . . and baby goat. Again, yes, there are differences . . . subtle nuances between the sound of a baby goat and that of a young lamb. Perhaps it is Rob’s length of time working in Africa: his lamb-speak is better than mine, as is his French. But no one can play the Tico-Spanish-charades games as well as I; and I can express lamb-tail in all languages . . . a topic previously discussed on this site.

So Rob and I were in the Magic Kingdom of grocers here in Costa Rica (aka Auto-Mercado), standing at the premium meat counter trying to identify lamb for dolmas, discussing the subject in clear English. A meat-stocker gentleman appeared, and I said in Spanish that we were looking for the meat from a . . . from a . . . wait for it . . . . whoops, I lost it. At this point there was nothing to do but ask Rob to make the lamb sound while I demonstrated its tail. Lamb, said the stocker, in flawless, unaccented English, as he handed us a package of beautiful lamb chops. Now let’s face it – lamb is a tricky word in English. It’s that b ending the word. Our dog, Jill The Pill, is a lamb of a dog, and I often tell her so placing strong emphasis on that final alphabet letter. Jill, you are a lamB! Anyway, several gourmet cheeses and a hour of loud, uncontrollable laughter later, we departed with groceries, including the prized lamb . . . all set for the meat grinder.

Yes we did make a wonderful Italian sausage, which Rob personally seasoned with his own well-considered selection of spices. Perhaps I'll share it soon on the Recipes page. Yep, Rob, we're still enjoying those tasty links on pizza, in lasagna, and simply rolled in flour tortillas with pickled Italian peppers.

Yes, I know that I have blog Followers. . . . and most of you should stop reading right here. Rob is a U.S. Peace Corps friend, and as previously stated (also on this site), I'm very possessive of my time with my RPCV friends. Those RPCVs of you who have visited us at Mil Colinas understand. I guard your time with me as I'd guard private time spent with Elizabeth II. To me you are royalty. So I'll say little more in this post other than the fact that Rob and Rusty and I (and Jenny, while she was here) had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Costa Rica. I cannot explain the silliness, the French (combined with German/English/Arabic-speak), nor the uncontrollable laughter over things that only an RPCV would understand. I won't try. 

Suffice to say that Rob is a professional photographer and my next post will include some of the remarkable, it-just-doesn't-happen sites that we experienced. Spoiler alert: the sloth! Yep, you'll soon see our sloth. Not to mention toucans, pizotes, monkeys, diving pelicans, all manner of flora, and some simply fabulous images of our fun times.

For now let's just say that Rob never tasted the world's best dolmas. Rob, that lamb is still in the freezer, awaiting Rusty's birthday on Saturday, when I'll eat my fill of dolmas while Rusty's eats brisket, or coconut cream pie, or whatever the man wants. Maybe a root beer snow-cone. Rob, thanks for the inspiring photos to begin blogging again. Lo que hay.