Doors – and More Humiliation!
One thing about building a community is its individual welcome, and DOORS are part of that welcome. I love the wreaths that my Indiana sister puts on her front door, that change according to the season, how attractive and friendly they are. When I arrived in England as a bride I was very confused. People had perfectly good front doors but they bunged them tightly with draft excluders and made everyone go around to the back. This usually meant struggling through a car port and around to the kitchen door. Strange, I thought, when the front door was easily accessible – and welcoming –both from inside and outside the home.
Some of the newer houses had no visible door at all, hidden behind a barrier wall which you had to slither around sideways for entrance. To me, they looked grim and foreboding. I talked to my friend about this and he replied, “It’s a great idea! You don’t have to stand in the rain waiting for someone to answer the door.” Despite the new learning, and a consideration for visitors, I still couldn’t/ didn’t want to live in a house that wasn’t opened widely to anyone who rang our doorbell.
I even saw a university building with no front door on the main street. What kind of welcome was THAT to a nervously new student arriving for the first time?
But I had a lot to learn. I still cringe with embarrassment over an incident that took place when we first moved to England. A group of women invited me to join them for an afternoon concert at the Albert Hall (WOW! The great Albert Hall! Little ole ME in this fabulous place! I am not worthy!). Excited to be in the great city of London, I found my way through biting cold, wind and rain, a little late. I looked up in awe. There it was, in all its grandeur, round and stunning, with many glass doors at the top of steps, each door attended by a gorgeously impressively uniformed man. NO WAY would my shabby clothes fit, in this marvelous iconic structure! With a deep breath I mounted the steps. As I neared the top, the attendant put his gloved hand on the door handle. “Nope. He obviously doesn’t want me to go in that one,” I thought and circled the building looking for a door that would allow access. Feeling even shabbier, I tried all of them around the building, and got the same response. Why? Perhaps they didn’t want the music interrupted. Perhaps I wasn’t well-dressed enough. Perhaps they didn’t allow latecomers to enter. I didn’t know.
So I went home. Back to my little village in Bedfordshire. Had I not been so intimidated by grandeur and the history of the building, had I actually mounted the steps to the top, I would have discovered that an elegant attendant was actually waiting to OPEN it for me, not to keep me out.
Just an interesting and different way to cook meat
…or fish, or chicken, or shrimp, or tofu, or mushrooms…….
When I got engaged, the school staff in India where I was teaching gave me a surprise shower, piled high with beautiful hand crafted gifts made locally, I marveled at the skills of fabric, wood, and copper, and still have most of them today. Each person also gave me a 3 x 5 card of one of their favourite dishes, all of which went into my treasured recipe box.
Here is a simple recipe from someone called “Carol” whose memory has unfortunately disappeared into time’s mist. God bless Carol — her card is still in constant use, stained and yellowed with age, a permanent memorial to someone I now can’t place. With joy and thanks I pass it on to all of you out there. May it open many doors to your own creativity.
Fry plenty of garlic and onions in a heavy pan with oil. When tender, add several tins of chopped tomatoes enough to cover the protein you will be adding later.. Pour in several tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, to taste, several tablespoons brown sugar , a couple of chopped peppers, and some cut up fruit: (tinned pineapple, peeled and chopped apple or pear). Season well with salt, pepper, paprika, and an optional pinch of red pepper flakes.
If using cubed meat (pork, beef, chicken, spareribs) add to the sauce now.
Cook until the sauce is spicy and saucy.
If using fish, prawns, fried tofu, chunk vegetables, add after the sauce is thick and well cooked, so that your themed dish isn’t overdone.
We have served this with grated cheese, or crushed tortilla chips, or cream or yogurt. Try out a few of your own favourites. Goes well with baked potatoes or rice, quinoa, or noodles.
(Unnecessary additional note:)
I was unaware that during the party shower for me, one member sat in the background, writing each thing I said – the idea was that this would be what I would also say on my wedding night. I had no idea that a bunch of tired overworked missionaries were capable of such eye-wiping, breath-gasping hilarity.