Jim: Host family appreciation night

June 22, 2010

Tuesday June 8th (I think – no longer sure of the day or date) was appreciation night. This was when students prepared meals at VENUSA for their host families as a way of saying thanks. There was a very good turn out, dishes were pot-luck style, although there wasn’t a lot of organization regarding who brought what. I think there were about 25 pasta salads, 20 deserts, & maybe ½ a dozen potato salads. All very good, at least those I tried were good, just a little funny. I can’t say I did much to sway the variety. I wanted to bring something that was easy to prepare—our kitchen is very basic, a couple frying pans, a can opener & a few spoons (no mixing bowls)—so nothing requiring baking or any sauces was an option. It also had to be something that would not spill, splash or burn on the trolley on the way to school. The trollies are normally very, very crowded, with room to stand only and carrying a bulky item would almost certainly end up dumped at some point. Finally, it had to be something that would not go bad after sitting out all day without being refrigerated (food poisoning can be such a drag). Remaining options? People chow. I know, most people call it puppy chow now, but the first time I ever had it was in a boy’s home in the late 80’s. It was people chow then, a play on words with puppy chow (the dog food). Sometime during the mid-90’s people started calling it puppy-chow, I’m probably just being stubborn, but I’m sticking with the name people chow & do not have any inclination at all to start eating dog food, so there it is.

The markets here are a little different than markets in the states. This is a very simple recipe with only four ingredients, but not quite so available here. On a recommendation, I had brought peanut butter along to Venezuela, so that was not a problem. Rice chex, or something vaguely similar did not seem like it would be too difficult to find. Wrong on that one, corn flakes were as close as I could get (yeah, I know). Semi-sweet chocolate chips? No, not here. I went with some dark chocolate bars intended for making hot cocoa. I added a little sugar & some dry milk once melted, it came out really close.

Even after all the weird accomodations that had to be made, it was pretty popular—there was none leftover at all. Fun night, but I don’t know what I’m going to make for session B—I’m almost out of peanut butter.



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