Recalling the green peanut butter cookies is only the start.

In Manila we lived in the Carmelence Villa, 450 Lamayan, Sta. Ana, on the Pasig. Carmen Melencio,  General Aginaldo’s daughter, owned three homes stylish behind tall iron gates with a gateman. He lived there  24/7 in a guard-house. Her home, which we rented, her daughter’s home across our very own two lane drive with overhead lighting, and the Thai Ambassador’s residence at the end of the drive settled serenely into an exotic orchid strewn garden. It had a 24/7 yard boy who kept it groomed. I could use him here.

I have pictures of my staff at the front door. Most prominent was our cook, Josie-with a black eye-and three amahas, one holding one of our precious Siamese cats. I bring this up because, on our flight back to Hawaii, on one of Pan Am’s first jets, as we  sighted Oahu and prepared to land, Billy, our youngest son, began to cry.

“What is it?” I queried.

“.. who’s gonna be cooker?” He managed to blubber through his tears. Billy knew I couldn’t cook and he’d worried about this sad state off affairs all the way across the Pacific.

Actually it wasn’t quite that bad, I could make grilled cheese sandwiches, but very quickly I had to learn how to shop and how to cook what I bought, for four kids me and a hungry husband.  I never got good at it and I never enjoyed it, but we ate. I discovered I was pretty good at making chili. We ate a lot of chili. For breakfast lunch and dinner. Interspersed, on special occasions, with grilled cheese sandwiches.

What Bill said he loved best about my chlii was that it never tasted the same twice.  That’s because I never measured, I just tossed stuff-mostly kidney beans and tomatoes-in a pot and served it hot or cold in pretty white porcelain bowls I’d brought home. I graduated to broiled chicken, steak, lamb and baked potatoes. Plus a tossed salad. I even managed to invent an egg dish for breakfast which, I learned later, all the kids hated. I thought it was cute. It was grilled toast with a hole in the middle into which I broke an egg and fried.

When Bill was ill I prepared exotic health food and fed the left overs to me and the dogs and cats.

After Bill died,  it was microwave all the way. Twenty seven years. Garnished with a swig of wine or orange juice and cup of tea or coffee, the best I can say is: I got here.

Which gets us, quickly, to the wonderful 82 and all my new and wonderful friends. Kimo Rosen offered to do a Bar-b-que thing,  so I bought, from Frontgate, the KAMADO KUB  grill. Too darling. Small black clay cooking pot with a heavy easy lift lid and hard wood side flaps that go up and down. It goes well with my wrought iron and sits proudly regal smack in the middle of  a round white stone table with benches.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to fire it up and cook stuff on it. The instructions say it bakes, grills, and smokes. Holy moly.


One Response

  1. Looking forward to the BBQ party of the century!


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