Saturday, January 15, 2011

Of Riots and Ricotta

Posting has been sparse these days. I've been giving myself a bit of a blogging/FB break. Problem is, as soon as I decide to take a break, I think of all of these things I need to say first. I've been mostly ignoring myself lately, hence the dearth of posts. We just started learning the Arabic alphabet last week, and believe me when I say that has given me plenty to focus on. I'm finally starting to feel settled, as in: have friends, have routine, have a favorite store, have too many errands to finish on any given day. Settled. Apparently I live here.

An Embassy-wide notice went out warning of widespread demonstrations that had the potential to turn violent on Friday. Which can only mean one thing: the Gormans have scheduled a dinner party. Nothing like organizing a dinner party while wondering if your husband and his 20-ish guests will even be able to attend.

But attend they did. The demonstrations were peaceful and everyone made it to our house for dinner. I made lasagna (Shannon, I used your recipe for homemade ricotta and it was the best lasagna I've ever made). Also made gnocchi (my Nona taught me how), chicken and peppers, rolls, salad and fruit salad. Oh, and coconut truffles for dessert. I was a cooking machine. For the first time since we've been here, I hired someone to come in and help with the clean-up. Why didn't I do that before? Dinner parties are so much more fun when you aren't faced with a chin-high pile of dirty dishes at 11 p.m.

In the States, I wouldn't even have the option of hiring someone to help with clean-up. But before y'all get too jealous, remember this: in the States, you can buy ricotta, right there there at the grocery store. As much as you need, without breaking the bank. You can buy pre-washed lettuce-in-a-bag. You can cut up a Costco chicken, put it on a fancy platter, and voila: a main course. Oh, and you don't have to go to a separate store to buy your alcohol. It's all there, in one giant store (Wegman's, how I miss thee). Then there's the little matter of the garbage disposal and dishwasher, both of which live in our tiny Virginia townhouse. Here: no dishwasher. No garbage disposal. Party prep and clean-up are both more difficult overseas.

Not that I'm complaining. I like cooking, and I like entertaining - it's fun to see people enjoying something you've taken the time to make for them. And it's more fun now that I know most of the people who are coming over (the first few parties were more stressful because I didn't know anyone).

Today, though, I need a break. The leftover gnocchi will suffice for our family dinner.


FSO Hopeful said... [Reply]

They just can't pull of a good demonstration here like they can in Cairo.

Shannon said... [Reply]

I am so glad the ricotta worked for you, it is ridiculously easy but sounds so impressive when you say you made your own cheese.

What kind of sauce goes on your gnocchi? I make it with a sage cream sauce that is wonderful but so fattening.

Connie said... [Reply]

I'm glad they don't riot here like in Cairo! Dinner sounds wonderful, but you're right, it isn't the same as planning a dinner in the US. There's also something about being in a kitchen for only a year, or cooking in one you've got several years experience with. Good for you for bringing in help!

Please. Write your own stuff.