Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Too Much Food

AdventureMan and I have lived more years outside our own country than inside it. We have lived on-and-off in the Middle East for more than 30 years. You’d think we would know everything by now, but we are still delighted to discover new things and to learn from the culture in which we are living.

Our Kuwaiti friends were good about letting us peek inside the culture, telling us stories of family life “before oil” and Kuwait traditions. Like women aren’t supposed to eat too much when they to to someone’s house for dinner or the people will say “do you think she has never seen food before?”

On the other hand, it is shameful not to provide enough food, so you always prepare way more than the group invited can possibly eat, like in ten years.

Sometimes a lot of the food goes to waste, but I have also discovered these wonderful plastic bags and tin trays found in every supermarket in the Middle East. What doesn’t get eaten now – gets eaten. I admit it, I am a lazy wife. I don’t like cooking big meals when it is just the two of us, so I love being able to pull something out of the freezer and have it all heated up and fresh for dinner.



It also makes me feel very ecological to have food in the freezer, ready to fix, and to know that not a lot went to waste. We are learning from our son and his sweet wife, and all the young adults in our family, who are WAY more ecologically aware than we ever were, and we thought we were pretty good, the generation who invented recycling.

AdventureMan used to bring home people for dinner, mostly guys from out of town in town for a short time who needed a home-cooked meal. We always had food in the freezer, something I could pull out on short notice.

One time, I made beef burgundy. When I went to serve it, I looked for the cheesecloth bundle of spices and couldn’t find it. I looked and looked, and then I figured I must have taken it out earlier and forgot I’d done it. Then, during dinner, one of the men had a very puzzled look on his face – he was chewing on the spices ball! I was SO embarrassed, but they all just laughed, thank God.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Kuwait, Living Conditions | 9 Comments

Fruit Crisps – Desserts (English: Crumbles)

There are two reasons to make fruit crisps. One, there is no better way to let ripe fruit star, take center stage, just when it hits its peak. Second – oh, it is SO easy.

Here is the original recipe I use:

Apple Crisp

From Mary Cullen’s Northwest Cook Book, 1946

Crisps are wonderful when made with fresh fruit, and not so much trouble as a pie requiring crusts. Here, the topping is delicious, and easy.

5 cups apples
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg

Peel, core and slice apples and place in a greased baking dish or cassarole. Using a pastry blender, work together the butter, sugar, salt, flour and spices. Pack closely around apples. Bake in 425 degree oven for 45 – 50 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Berry Crisp

Substitute berries for apples. If berries are very tart, sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 cup flour before covering with crumb mixture.

Rhubarb Crisp

Use diced rhubarb in place of apples. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour with rhubarb before placing in baking dish.

This time I made peach crisp:

You put the fruit in a buttered pie / tart plate:

You sprinkle the topping on, pat it down, and bake. Yes, it is that easy.

No, no end photo, sorry. It disappeared too quickly!

(In the Pacific Northwest, these are called Crisps. My English friend tells me that in England, they are called Crumbles.) So Easy.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Cooking, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Food, Recipes | 2 Comments

Crab Cakes in Doha

We wanted to have a light dinner at home to welcome our house guests, and then take them on a night-tour of Doha. I remembered the wonderful Crab Cakes my friend and her daughter made in Seattle, and I was determined to have . . . well, I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but something LIKE those crab cakes.

So I found the best crab I could buy in Doha, and made up the crab cakes. Wrong crab. Wrong breading – I couldn’t find any panko (I know there is panko in Doha, I just know it, but I couldn’t find it when I was looking for it!) so I whirled up some lime Tostito chips in the food processor and used those.

They were actually pretty good, when I first made them. Not the same, not Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab, but not bad.

This is four cans of crab meat – you can find the recipe for Crab Cakes by clicking on the blue type; I already printed it back in August or September.


The crushed tostitos weren’t bad for breading, but you only use a little, on the outside, to help them firm up for cooking:


I served them with Plum Sauce, which also wasn’t as good as the fresh home-made plum sauce my friend’s daughter made:


They were OK. If I didn’t know what Pacific Northwest Crab tasted like, fresh out of the ocean and steamed right away, I probably would have thought they were pretty good. I’m not going to make them again here.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Cooking, Doha, ExPat Life, Experiment, Food, Qatar, Recipes | 8 Comments

Reminder: Blog Action Day Thursday 15 October 209

Hey Everyone,

Blog Action Day is this Thursday, October 15!

We’re excited to report that more than 5000 bloggers have already registered from 126 countries, with more signing up each day.

If you haven’t registered yet, it is not too late. Sign up here:

Once you’ve signed up all you need to do is write a post about climate change this Thursday. We’ll have a live feed of all your posts on our homepage so you can track the conversation.

But, you may be asking, what am I going to write about?

We’re here to help. Climate climate impacts nearly all aspects of our lives, from business and technology to food, transportation and travel. Here’s a list of ideas and places to look for inspiration when deciding what to post on Thursday.

Food: Agricultural production around the world is responsible for nearly as much greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transportation put together, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the food choices we make have a big impact on the climate. Read more and check out a few explanatory videos here.

Travel: More than 30 top travel blogs are participating in Blog Action Day. Check out who’s blogging and get ideas for writing about the connection between travel, geography, transit and climate change.

Events: If you want to write about what people around the world are doing locally to take action on climate change, check out our friends at They’re organizing an International Day of Climate Action around the world on October 24. You can also check out their tools specifically for bloggers. For more events and actions to write about, go to:

Business: Take a look at our post on 5 Ways Climate Change Will Change Business in the 21st Century to get some ideas of where climate change will have a big impact, and opportunities for the business sector.

Politics: It’s hard to ignore the connection between climate change and politics — from international negotiations to local and domestic policy debates. We’ve profiled some of the best political blogs participating in Blog Action Day this year where you can brush up on the inside information.

None of these topics fit your interest? We just put up a blog post with a longer list of topics and how they connect to climate, including design, technology, family, health and more. Take a look and add your ideas in the comments for everyone to see.

How you write about the way climate change affects our lives is up to you. The most important thing is that you participate so that together, we can help create an expanding global conversation about one of the most important issues we face.

Thanks so much,

Robin Beck
Lead Organizer
Blog Action Day 09: Climate Change.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Blogging | 2 Comments