Posted by Anton Zuiker
While I scrubbed the gutters, tidied up the yard and shuttled boxes to the storage unit in preparation for selling our Durham house, my wife, Erin,was inside making butternut squash soup. This is our weekend in the rotating soup club that Erin and her work colleagues started a couple of months back — each Monday, we get six cups of homemade soup that make for a delicious dinner.
We decided to get a head start on the club, naturally. As Erin finished off the soup with cream and dollops of lime-yogurt, my daughters helped me mix up a batch of blueberry scones, our favorite because of the crunchy cornmeal and sweet lime-syrup icing. Once I was finally seated at our simple table — looked over by a photograph of a field of wildflowers — and tasting the fabulous soup, I was reminiscing about the pumpkin-curry soup that we used to make during our time as Peace Corps Volunteers on the South Pacific island of Paama.
We’d get a pumpkin from one of the villagers come down from their hillside gardens, grate and milk a few dried coconuts, add curry powder and water, and cook the soup on our smokeless stove (a wood-fired cement stove with a pipe through the roof of our little kitchen). By the time the soup was ready, we’d have guests arriving at our door. We were often joined by Noel and Leah and their children — our adoptive family in Liro Village — and the soup was gone in a hurry, but the stories lasted so much longer.
Since Erin and I were based at a secondary school, with students from various other islands throughout the Republic of Vanuatu, we decided to host Wednesday meals with students. Students came in pairs, joined us at our long table that was made from Masonite wall material, and got to experience American food such as pasta, pizza or pork in plum sauce. These seventh graders were mostly quiet, but eventually shared stories of their islands and customs of their villages.
So, hello. I’m mistersugar. I like to cook, eat and storian (what the ni-Vanuatu call long and unhurried conversations), and that’s what I’m hoping to continue this month. Thank you, Beck for the invitation to join in on the 28tables experience, and thanks to my fellow bloggers for sharing their insights and observations.