I'm back in the blogging mood, I guess. Really that's more about me having a moment of free time when I'm alone in my room and not cooking or cleaning.
First of all, I would like to say that I saw the clip of Lil' Wayne announce the "top 10" on the Late Show with David Letterman and it was stupid. And his new single Prom Queen is terrible, too. I'm glad I'm not at home to listen to the radio DJs overplay that one. (And I don't like Miley's new song, either.)
There is a bring-a-dish thing tomorrow night with Interact. Those who are attending are supposed to bring a dish from their country or region. I'm at a complete loss. What is "American" food, or more specifically southern food that I can actually make? If we were at home, I'd drive by a Smithfield's or Bojangles' and pick up some fried chicken, but I can't do that here. And I can't make that either, since my only experiences with making fried chicken have been with a deep-fryer, which I do not possess. When I think of American food, the first thing that comes to mind is steak, since no one can do steak like we can (sorry everywhere else in the world, but it's true).
Another issue is my culinary skills- while they're not bad (but definitely not refined) at home, I have so many other issues here. From going to the store and not knowing what type of flour to buy, to having to convert my recipes from Fahrenheit to Celsius. And my oven has super powers, as we discovered last night. The first time Marine and I cooked a pizza here, it was in her oven and took the recommended 15-20 minutes. I think the one we cooked last night (in my oven) took 5-10 minutes and we were so freaked out. It tasted great though.
Also, the event is taking place in a different building, so I have to make something that I can transport and will still be good after a bus ride. That just made me think of all the times we went to covered dish dinners with my family and whoever called "shotgun" had the pleasure of figuring out how we were going to get the food there, since it would be sitting on their lap, no matter how hot it was, haha. Drawing on those dinners for inspiration, green bean cassarole was very popular, but I don't think we have French's onions here.
John Cash once wrote, ""I myself can't go too long without real Southern fried chicken, skillet cornbread, and all the other wonderful staples of my home food. It's one of the disadvantages of a life spent traveling internationally that that particular kind of cooking isn't much exported. You can find a burger almost anywhere in the world and dine well on French or Italian or Chinese food, but just try finding fried okra or black-eyed peas or skillet-cooked cornbread in Sydney or Singapore or Stuttgart."
From Cash: The Autobiography (HarperCollins, 1997).
I just found a simple recipe for frying chicken, but I have issues with frying a whole chicken in the frying pan, since I would hate for any of the meat to not be cooked thoroughly. I can't make cornbread here, or Brunswick stew, or anything. Here comes the regionalism. I am a culinary failure, but I think this summer I'll try to work on cooking while I'm at my parents' house with recipes and ingredients that I know. Nostalgia sets in and you don't know what I would do for my mom's apple crisp. We used to make that when we were little- we'd get a bunch of apples and Kayla and I would peel and core them with something that looked like this (I'm trying to provide links for people who aren't familiar with what I'm talking about/can't read my mind, haha). That was always so much fun! I'm really looking forward to spending time with my sister- she might be able to visit me here and we have the summer together before we both leave for school. We used to fight like dogs all the time, but we're good friends now and I think we've realized that even though we can still both annoy each other, that's not our goal and we're a better team now (while I know all the stuff to say that upsets her, I also know what she's thinking when we're together and we have what I reckon could be called a code where she'll say one thing and I know exactly what she's talking about, when everyone else is lost).
Sorry for the sidetracking, back to my recipe debaucle... I'm realizing more and more that the ingredients we cook with at home aren't easy to find here. Yes, tonight I plan on making grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell's tomato soup again, but I don't think that qualifies as actually cooking or being a regional food. Everything is peaches this, sweetpotatoes that, grease, grease, and more grease. Apparently, we like apples a lot for our cooking. And barbeque- vinegar based. Even though I don't eat pork or like NC BBQ, just looking at these pictures and recipes is making me hungry! UGH! Ever recipe I find has an issue, for instance the shredded cheddar needed for one- no other cheese would work.
This is not actually a big deal, I'm just consumed with trying to find something I can. In the end, I'll probably settle for mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs with cheese, etc. It only has to be enough food for four.
However, if people from home would like to contribute ideas, I'll take them into consideration.
In other news...
I've been watching Criminal Minds. Love it! So many great characters. Elizabeth reminded me of the show the other day and how intense it is. Ahh!
The site that I'm watching it on has Chinese subtitles, which makes me feel absolutely terrible. I can hardly read any of it. Next semester I have to audit a Chinese class, just to refresh my memory, since it will have been a year since my last course.
Ok, I can't write anymore right now, my stomach is growling at me because I looked at so many pictures of delicious country cooking. Snack time!