Archive | January, 2021

Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

31 Jan

Making garlic soup is about as close to comfort food as it gets for me. I have always used it for medicinal purposes as well as a very yummy meal. Just add crusty bread and you have heaven.

Oaxacan sculptor Josefina Aguilera.

I love soup’s versatility and lack of fussiness. There really isn’t a recipe. Sometimes it’s an “empty out the refrigerator” soup before going Sunday shopping. Of course that means you have to have a supply of vegetables needing to be eaten. Carrots are a staple.

Crimini mushrooms in Bacalar, a rare find.

For medicinal purposes, I use an entire bulb of garlic. Anywhere between a clove and a fist-full will work. The soup can be made on the stove, in a slow cooker or, my favorite, the Instant pot. However you choose, the intense aroma will fill your house and possibly the entire neighborhood.

I tend toward Italian herbs, but follow your preference.

The soup base can be made from liquid from having steamed vegetables, canned tomatoes, a purchased vegetable cube, or meat if you prefer. Chicken soup is a time honored cure for what ails you. I prefer a vegetable soup.

I love white beans.

If you don’t mind the heat, add an inch of pealed chopped ginger and/or a piece of fresh pepper. I leave the pepper whole so it can be scooped out and not surprise anyone with a mouthful of fire. Living in Mexico, the shop owners laugh when we buy one Serrano pepper. Compared to the locals, we are wusses when it comes to our heat tolerance.

I don’t guarantee that garlic soup can cure Covid, but it sure couldn’t hurt. There has been quite a bit of research to prove its benefit in fighting colds, lowering blood pressure, improving high cholesterol and a myriad of other health challenges. Have fun and do report back your experience.

DOS TORTAS

Art by me. A Mexican cocina.

Imagine All The People Living Life in Peace

17 Jan

The year nineteen-seventy (1970) began a shiny new decade. It was the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which was also the theme for my high school prom and the year I graduated. We would have had our fiftieth reunion this past year if not for Covid.

Year book graduation picture 1970
The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius
My mother bought the gloves. I never wore them again.

The Vietnam War was in full swing. Nightly news was full of student sit-ins, protest marches, women’s liberation, Stonewall (1969) and Kent State (1970). As a budding adult, I never participated in anything that turned violent.

March on Washington 1967

The large march I did attend in New York City (1971) involved chanting anti-war slogans and passing around a bottle of Snaups. I felt very grown up. Richard Nixon was president.

Anthem for a troubled time. John Lennon 1971

I know that not all protests at that time were peaceful and I’m sure some folks wanted to overthrow the government. For the most part it was the PEACE movement, identified by rainbow colors, long hair, pot smoking and lots of sex.

Our senior class trip to Washington DC. North Hunterdon Regional High School Class of 1970

These and many more are the memories that have been swirling around my head as I have been glued to the evening news, appalled at the images of armed rioters storming the halls of our nation’s capitol. If I avert my eyes, it feels like they’ll get away with it, which I know is not true. My first step in extricating myself from the drama is to quit talking about it. I will pass on all the salacious details of arrests that only raise my blood pressure. It’s time to join John Lennon and “Imagine” living life in peace. If only the crazies would stay home!

DOS TORTAS

https://youtu.be/L6svOHFSAH8

The Best Laid Plans

10 Jan

On Monday of this week, the cast came off my broken leg (Taking Staying Home To A Whole New Level). I had been counting the days, hours, minutes… I had it in my head that I would be able to start walking and getting my life back. How silly am I?

My passport (Living On Borrowed Time) had expired in mid-December and I admit to some anxiety about being without a valid passport while living in Mexico, in the time of Covid. My renewal appointment for April was canceled outright due to the shut down. Finally in December I got a date that I had to postpone after breaking my left fibula. It was only a small break, nothing dramatic. So why was I still in pain four weeks later and wanting to rip the cast off with my teeth!

I rescheduled with the US Consulate for January seventh. I would travel by bus to Playa del Carmen, a couple of hours away. I would spend the night and give myself plenty of time to take a taxi and be at the appointment by noon. Sounds like a plan, right? Crutches be damned.

Sometimes my life feels totally upside down.

Only I didn’t count on the level of discomfort I’d still be in when the cast came off. I must have sprained my ankle pretty badly on top of the fracture. It’s still swollen and bruised. No weight bearing for two more weeks. That didn’t keep me from plowing ahead with my plans. Hotel reserved, check. Bus ticket purchased, check.

https://youtu.be/BEyjS69ZEIQ Hotel Maria Bonita

On Wednesday morning my beloved spouse sat me down and informed me in her most loving, sincere tone, that I was out of my mind. I wanted to object, be right, and revolt, but that small voice that I so wanted to ignore, knew she was right.

How many times has this happened?

We’ve arrived at this place in our relationship after twenty-six years where we trust each other. She’s got my back. I also know that my stupid decisions aren’t without consequences to her. I know I’m selfish, but I try not to be insane. So the best laid plans were cancelled, again. The consulate will reschedule and I’ll have more time to heal. The blog I had hoped to write for today was postponed as well. Oh well, it’s not like any of us are going anywhere any time soon.

DOS TORTAS

This Time Last Year

3 Jan

The world was a very different place ringing in the New Year 2020. Lisa and I were on the trip of a lifetime, celebrating our 25th Anniversary and Lisa’s recovery from two surgeries (cervical and heart) in 2019.

Ringing in 2020, we were onboard the cruise ship Azamara fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling through the Panama Canal. Little did we know until much later how we dodged the Covid bullet that stranded many people cruising all around the world. Luckily we disembarked January 5, just in time.

Should old acquaintance…🍾🎤🎼🎺
Conga line extraordinaire.

New Year’s Eve was spent positioned off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was the most amazing blowout celebration we’ve ever been part of, fireworks and dancing, and the last time we dressed up for ANYTHING.

2020 was an opportunity to stay home, reconnect and remember what is important. We worked at not complaining and finding joy in the small things. There will always be ups and downs. Certainly a worldwide pandemic was not on anyone’s playlist. I appreciate seeing the optimism for 2021. Myself, I will continue to keep my expectations low. I’m not sure we’ll be cruising any time soon, or ever again, and that’s just fine.

DOS TORTAS

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Emilie Vardaman

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