Cold Beer and Warm Gumbo

Today, I taught Pocket Monkey how to make Dad’s(his Grandpa’s) Gumbo.  It is the simple version that doesn’t involve a roux.  I was laughing because he tried every ingredient after he chopped it.  Just like me!  In the course of preparing the meal, he took a bite of half dozen veggies, and a bit of chicken.  I would chop something to show him how I wanted it chopped, and then turn him loose with the kitchen knife.  He succeeded.

Pocket Monkey just turned 10, so he is of a good age to teach basic cooking skills.  By the time we are done with him, he will be able to cook like a Chamorro or a hillbilly at his leisure.  He can already cook rice and Spam, which are basic Chamorro staples.

Mrs. Snipe and I were deciding what we would name a restaurant if we had it an settled on the name Chamoule  That is Guam slang for a half white and half Chamorro person.  .  She would cook the Islander favorites, and I would do the southern comfort food.

We invited a neighbor to try the gumbo, and therefore had to use the “spice for Yankees” rule.  If you want it spicy, add your own hot sauce.  Most gumbo recipes I am familiar with include the phrase: If you are cooking for Yankees, the elderly or the sick, spice with caution.  Of course, our neighbor loved it.

I love cooking, and love sharing with my friends.  That is all.  Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

My version of multi-culturalism vs the the other version.

I feel that I can can confidently say that I am mulit-cultural.  I was raised a Christian by two white folks, and later a white guy named Dad and a Korean lady.  Dad was determined to teach us about open-mindedness, without forcing it down our throats.  I have dined with families that represented a large portion of races and cultures.  I am ashamed to say now, looking back, that my first response to Dad dating a Korean was, “But, why!”.  Unfortunately, some of my family is racist, and i was young and impressionable.  Now, 15 years later, I count among friends and respected colleagues several LEGAL immigrants, and many different races.  I have attended culturally traditional events in the company of Indians(both kinds), Germans, Mexicans, Koreans, and Chamorros.  Friends, you have not seen a shindig until you attend a Korean child’s first birthday, or a Chamorro child’s confirmation.  I have learned enough language to be polite in a couple of countries.  Because of Dad’s efforts, I have learned to truly appreciate different cultures, and what they can teach me.  I am forever grateful to him for that, and many other lessons.  The one lesson that really stuck in my head, was to not be an Ugly American, and refuse to try a food that looked or smelled funny, until i had tasted it.  That is very rude in the Korean culture Dad was becoming a part of by marriage number two.  That lesson has taken me farther in the Western Pacific AOR than several others.  By the way, I learned the other languages I mentioned while visitng their country.  Perhaps our illegal immigrants would be so kind.  Every LEGAL immigrant I know speaks English well enough to be understood.  I didn’t have anybody cramming a desire to learn language down my throat, I learned what I could as a gesture of courtesy to hosts.  It goes back to my tenet of a little bit of respect goes a long way.  There will be psots about what I leaned from other cultures as the lessons come to mind.  They are never far away, and i still apply them when appropriate.