Adventures in Cooking

I love to cook. Actually, I love to bake because I have a huge sweet tooth, but I enjoy cooking as well.

I told my sister how I was always cooking the same thing here due to fairly limited ingredients – chicken, fish or shrimp with a veggie side dish and the occasional hamburger. When Mick mentioned a chicken and artichoke dish our friend Chris made for her, I was excited because I had seen canned artichokes in the store. Mick passed along along Chris’ recipe that included Chris’ notes on how to improve the recipe: the type of artichokes to buy, additional mushrooms etc. As I made the dish, I thought that my Galapagos recipe notes would look a bit different. Here they are:
1. Take chicken that you had to skin and debone yourself out of the freezer to defrost. Place in microwave so the geckos and microscopic spiders that live in your kitchen don’t taint it. Write a note so you remember you have chicken defrosting in the microwave.
2.  See the note about 5 hours later, place the still-cool chicken in the fridge and pull out the recipe. Note you only have 1 can of artichokes and that you have only seen fresh mushrooms on the island 3 times in 6 months. Take out home-made chicken broth (added benefit of always having to buy bone-in chicken) from freezer to defrost.
3. Walk 3/4 mile to store in search of artichokes and fresh mushrooms. No fresh mushrooms at the store, but you are happy to find a can of artichokes. Snob (pronounced by native Spanish speakers as eh-snōb) brand because it is the only one. Debate over $4.65 can of eh-Snob mushrooms. Pass on it and then go back to get it rationalizing that you ate canned mushrooms on steak until you were about 16 and Mom started buying fresh ones.
4. Walk home 3/4 mile.
5. Start cooking and scream at the gecko you find licking the side of your chicken broth. Chase it around with the dedicated plastic cup and laminated award Matt’s friend gave him for his 2nd place fantasy football win that is now used to catch and “relocate” house geckos. Fail as it executes some incredible last minute leaps and you have been on vacation for a week and your trapping skills have suffered. Kick yourself for not defrosting the broth in the microwave but shrug and wipe down the side of the container.
6. Get out your pyrex from its carrying case. Note that the carrying case now has mold growing on it. Just like your purses, shoes, Matt’s suit jackets and half of the rest of the stuff in your house.
7. Wash the pyrex because even though it had a lid on it and was in its zippered case, what appears to be gecko poop is in it.
8. Turn on oven but look up the damn celsius to fahrenheit conversion that you can never remember.
9. Turn on burner but note that it is flaming oddly. Watch for rogue gecko as singed ones have run out of your burner in the past. No gecko appears. Carry on.
10. Continue cooking, smooshing any microscopic spiders you see because it is a lost cause and you have given up trying to eradicate them.
11. Keep cup and award handy for rogue gecko, but the little shit knows to stay away.
12. Hope that the cake flour, the only type you have been able to find on the island, means you will finally be able to whisk flour into broth without getting lumps. Fail yet again. Blame cake flour.
13. No sherry in town. Find some old white wine in the fridge that was too crappy to drink and kept for cooking. Smell it and add to lumpy sauce.


15 thoughts on “Adventures in Cooking

    • And I didn’t even mention that when I cook with a crockpot I live in fear of opening the lid to find stewed gecko! I was thinking of you, Amy. I finally bought found (and bought) cashews in Quito so I can make your chicken and pea pod recipe you gave me years ago. Now I just have to figure out what veggie to substitute for the pea pods!

  1. Oh My Gosh….I loved this post Kerry. Laughed through the whole story! But-up until this post I really had romantic thoughts of living somewhere “far off the beaten path”…now I’ve got my doubts! Major doubts! hahaha. keep em coming Girl!

    • Just wait – one of these days I will post a tell-all about how life “in paradise” is anything but! 🙂 Paradise to Visit (and it is) does not equal Paradise to Live.

  2. Oh my – what an adventure to make dinner! It sounds wild (literally) in your home. Bummer to hear about mold on everything…what can you do about it?! I’m thinking about your poor shoes! 🙂

    • Unfortunately, nothing! It is really weird – one pair of Matt’s shoes is affected the worst of everything. Every week I scrub off the mold and it returns. We joked that his shoes were probably so happy when we were on vacation and they stayed mold free for a whole week! I tried polishing them to see if the polish would form a barrier with the leather and help, but no such luck.

  3. Let me know if there are any other recipes you want me to share with you — HAHAHA!!!
    Random thoughts…. cornstarch for thickening? Is that available? Try wiping or spraying the shoes and other items with (white) vinegar diluted with water (play with proportions), after testing a small area. The acidity may retard mold growth. I shared your kitchen adventures with some friends at work as we were swapping recipes a few days ago. Everyone loved hearing about the gecko licking the broth container!
    (BTW- Our friends will not be going to the GI until NEXT September.)

    • Thanks, Chris – only recipes that have about 3 ingredients. 🙂 I did try the vinegar and water previously for the leather (always my go-to for salt stains) to no avail. 😦 Cornstarch… hmmm. There is corn everything else here so maybe. Or maybe someday I will finally get better at whisking flour into liquid. I know now why my mom had this container she would use to shake flour and liquid instead; I might have to give that a try. I am sure we will appreciate your friends ferrying bottles of booze to us next September if they are willing. There always will be more geckos for me to drink away.

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