Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lost in Cultures and Recipe for Hummus Wrap

Ahoy!  I've been mowed down lately with StormCarib and reporting on the hurricanes affecting the Virgin Islands, my previous stomping grounds for two plus decades. 

I came back to America, but I might as well have stepped off the shuttle from Mars...  I feel so lost at times, the Caribbean culture and USA culture are so different, I get confused and my actions often confound others. 

Water is so precious in the islands, that many public restrooms provide a huge bin for used toilet paper and post a sign such as "If it's yellow, let it mellow..." meaning don't waste water for flushing, unless you must. One cute sign often seen is:

"In this land of fun and sun, 
we never flush for number one, 
but if you take a shit, 
we don't mind a bit!"

There are usually signs posted for all toilet paper to go in the waste bin and not down the toilet. Their toilets are typically the household type, not the industrial kind, their  sewer system is often a too-small septic tank and more fragile due to the high volume of users and the low number of public restrooms available in the area. Many places on the island, only have one restroom for all.  No his and hers, just one, for anybody that needed it. This has slowly changed over the years, as bars and restaurants have upgraded to two restrooms, but often they are sill just one-seaters. 

So sometimes I go into public restrooms in the USA, and if it's yellow, I let it mellow. Old habits, die hard!  Recently I came out of a public restroom, just as the janitor stepped inside. She said something unprintable when she saw the yellow-let-it-mellow, and suddenly I felt terribly embarrassed. I wasn't in the Caribbean. I was in the land of water, and the more wasted,  the merrier. 

I thought about trying to explain to her, I was new to this, but no, that wouldn't sound right. I'm so used to being super careful, not to waste water, I forget I am in the land of plenty where people waste loads of water, but buy their drinking water in bottles and consider the tap water to be very scary. 

When I last lived in America, tap water was safe and free water fountains for drinking abounded everywhere. Now the water is treated as if it is seemingly evil. I don't trust the overpriced bottled water. So I use Brita water filters for all my drinking and cooking needs. What has happened to America?  Why can't they provide clean drinking water anymore?  It's a very scary thought. 

I hate the thought of all those empty water bottles piling up in the landfills. Like Foxy on Jost Van Dyke sings in the Caribbean, something about our mountains keep getting taller, cause we're hiding our garbage under them. 

Living on a tiny island, I was used to lots of small town friendliness, and a much slower pace. People often chit chatted about this, that, and the other, while conducting business. There was a certain leisurely attitude to common activities. 

One day, back in America,  I walked into a fast food joint, all by myself. I wasn't fast enough for them and the cashier repeatedly let me know her displeasure. I was studying this huge billboard type menu above her head. I was trying to figure out the astonishing array of choices and combos and value meals and options. She asked to take my order and I told her I was reading the menu. She stood there with her finger poised above the register, like someone pointing at their dog to sit. 

She let out a loud sigh. 

I was about a third of the way through the menu, when she asked for my order again. I mentioned I was still reading the menu. 

Another loud sigh.

After all, I thought to myself, I hadn't been in her fast food joint before, so I surely didn't have it memorized. I began reading again when she asked for my order, the third time. I explained I was still looking. She let out another rather long loud sigh.  Meanwhile a couple walked in the door and stood behind me. The cashier suddenly barked at me to get out of "the line"  if I wasn't going to order something. "The line" consisted of me and the couple behind me. So I turned to them, stepped aside  and said "You may go ahead of me."  They were rather polite and said "No, that's OK, you go ahead."  

I was about finished with reading the extensive menu and considering my choices, when the cashier said "You can't just stand there and hold up the line!  What do you want to order?"  I started to open my mouth, because now I had a question about the confusing menu choices, when the cashier let out another of her long loud sighs and glared at me angrily, her finger poised above the cash register, as if it might run away if she didn't continue to point at it. 

A man began approaching the cashier, rapidly from the rear, he was dressed differently, maybe he was the manager. I thought "Ut oh, now what have I done?"  He had this look of serious grave concern on his face, not a friendly "How are you today?" that  I was accustomed to on my sleepy former island, where the manager or owner of the restaurant, often came up to enthusiastically greet me (and never rushed me to a decision.)

I must admit, on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, where I last lived, they are never in a hurry about your menu ordering. Take all day for all they care, they are almost never ever  in a rush about anything. 

For some reason, I just became super embarrassed. The man looked angry.  Instead of asking my question, and placing my order,   I mumbled "Never mind" and turned to head for the exit. 

Clearly, I didn't belong here, I wasn't accustomed to the menu, and oh how I hate spending my hard earned money with rude people. 

Before I reached the door, I heard the man asking the cashier "What did you say to her?  Why is she leaving?  Where's her order?"  

I was still in earshot, when the cashier said "Some stupid woman, she just stood here, staring at the menu, like an idiot,  holding up the line, refusing to give me her order!"

Is that me?  Some stupid woman?

I walked out the door and was rather irritated, that it had one of those whoosh things on it, preventing me from grabbing it and slamming it loudly.

Oh how I wanted to be that stupid woman that slammed the door!  But alas, I could not. Quite honestly, I'm really not the slamming door type. I had walked into the place in a great mood, now I was leaving in a sour mood. Now it was my turn to let our the long loud sigh.

I decided to smile about it all. She saved me money and I didn't eat empty calories full of junk my body didn't need or want anyhow. I'm still on island time, where meals are a leisurely event.

I ended up making my own lunch.

Nobody rushed me.

Here's what I made, a lovely Hummus Veggie Wrap
I found one tortilla left in the refrigerator. The zip lock bag was not closed up tight, and the end of the tortilla was dried out, so I sliced off the dried part, and tossed it outside for the puppy dog to eat.
I spread Hummus over the entire tortilla. 
That was topped with fresh grape tomatoes and some leftover yellow bell pepper chunks. 

Next I found some lettuces and piled those on top of the veggies.

Then I rolled it up kind of tightly.
Next I ate it all.
It was delicious too!

Hummus And 65 Other Delicious & Healthy Chickpea Recipes

And 65 Other Delicious & Healthy Chickpea Recipes
Hummus And 65 Other Delicious & Healthy Chickpea Recipes
The New Book of Middle Eastern FoodThe
New Book of Middle Eastern Food
Hummus Dip


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