Monthly Archives: October 2011

World Food Day and WHERE HAS THERESA BEEN!?

I’ve never felt guilty about being one of the haves. I was born white, middle-class, straight, Protestant to parents who saw that I got a good education, gave me a love of reading and learning, and who were well enough that I could take off to see the world straight out of college. Privilege is my middle name. I’m OK with that, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how these privileges can be extended to everyone else.

It’s particularly jarring as I prepare for the consumerist orgy that is buying our consumables on World Food Day.

Needless to say, I’m not as active here lately as I have been in the past. I find myself reluctant to speak about development, foreign policy, and even the role of ICTs in emerging economies in such a public forum, particularly when I’m not 100% at ease with myself and how my small family is readjusting to living in the States.

Fear not! I haven’t stopped writing entirely! I just do it in different places. I’m still chatting endlessly about health, pregnancy, and food at himynameistheresa. My latest project, just launched with several other Foreign Service folks, is Hardship Homemaking, where we writing about cooking from scratch, whole foods, and making a home at hardship posts. Look for lots of recipes from me, straight out of Benin!

Check ‘em out and let me know what you think!

Edited to note that himynameistheresa is now defuct.

Out of town visits and granola madness

Liz was in town this weekend, and instead of spending a couple of days exploring DC, we holed up in my apartment and tested granola recipes. I’d made up my mind to make Christmas presents this year, but wasn’t sure if granola would be a) feasible time-wise and b) classy and pretty enough.

Trust me, it’s both.

We started the day with homemade pumpkin spice lattes, before getting to work!

Pumpkin spice lattes

My plan was to test 5 different recipes: pumpkin spice, apple cinnamin, vanilla blueberry, orange cranberry, and coconut almond. We got out lots of oats, flax, sweeteners, nuts, and dried fruits, before getting to work in my tiny kitchen. Yum.

Ingredients!

Pumpkin spice was a success! I’d already found a great recipe, and knew how to modify it to make things a bit more … pumpkin-y. It turned out really well.

Pumpkin spice granola

Before finishing up the apple cinnamon granola, we went out to lunch at a creperie in Pentagon Row.

No crepe, just beer.

Bertrand was disappointed to discover that his smoked salmon was actually a smoked salmon salad, but Liz and I had delicious delicious crepes.

Mushroom creme crepe

By the time we got home, post lunch, grocery store, and beer run, I was exhausted! We were able to finish up the apple cinnamon and vanilla blueberry granolas before friends came over for dinner, but didn’t get to the last two on our list.

Apple cinnamon granola

Bertrand made Beninese food for dinner, and we washed it down with pumpkin beer.

Pumpkin beer w/ a honey cinnamon rim

I’ve tried to convince him that he should write up his recipes, but he really doesn’t have any. He’s a good cook, but does everything by feel. He can’t tell me how much broth, salt, or oil he uses in anything at all. No Beninese cook I’ve ever met actually mesures. Everything is done by taste, smell, and feel. I wish I could cook like that!

On baby gear and being a control freak

Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but I’m a control freak. I’m a planner. The better I’m prepared, the better I can handle the unexpected and unpredictable when it happens.

At 32 weeks, I’m starting to worry. About everything. Ever-steady Bertrand is not. He never freaks out about anything, which is an excellent foil to my high-strung freak outs. My need to control is manifesting itself by an intense need to research, plan, and debate baby gear.

“Bertrand, do you think we need two strollers because the Bob’s going to be so bloody big? What are we going to do on the airplane?”

“Bertrand, you know how we’d decided we weren’t going to get a crib, because we’ll have the pack-n-play, and our stuff might not show up to Freetown for at least six months? Well, I want a crib.”

“Bertrand, how many bottles should we start out with?”

“Bertrand, how do you feel about feminine diaper bags, since you’re going to be at home with the baby for the first few months? Do you think you and I should have our own, or should we share?”

“Bertrand, do you think we ship baby food to Freetown, even though we spent $300 on a food processor so that I could make it myself?”

“Bertrand, do you think we have enough cold weather gear to get us through the 10 weeks before we leave for Freetown?”

“Bertrand! Bertrand! Bertrand!”

He listens to me, offers a well reasoned point of view, then hugs me and tells me that everything is going to be OK, no matter what equipment we buy or don’t buy. We keep reminding ourselves that babies grow up with no gear, no posessions, and no “stuff” all over the world, but dammit, we want things to be perfect for Lucky.

Also, baby gear is fucking adorable.