Despite the peculiarities of American eats, I am grateful and thankful for many things here in the homeland — things we couldn’t find in Thailand, or wouldn’t buy for the ridiculous price; things I simply appreciate wherever I am. My list is long, but a few items immediately come to mind:
* Friends and family with dinner tables. Not that we have no friends in Asia, but I always love a good dinner party (big or small). Like last night. We surprised our dear friends in Oconomowoc, barging in on their dinner preparations. They made a fantastic laap with sticky rice and homemade chili sauce. We finally met their newborn (who arrived after our last visit in October) and caught up with their tortilla-loving, herb-eating 2-year-old. The four of us adults lingered over the table (coffee table on the living-room floor), talking well into the night.
* Wine for drinking. Say no more.
* Wine for cooking. Options beyond rice wine.
* Microbrews. After all, we’re here in the land of New Glarus. Really, I’m not an alkie. But here’s my favorite out-of-context quote so far this trip: “All I know is my brother George drank the most and he lived the longest.”
* Cheese. So much cheese. The local Sendik’s has a walk-in refrigerated cheese room.
* Mustard. Brown mustard, yellow mustard, mustard with champagne.
* Pickled herring. Love it.
* Pears. Love them, too.
* Walnuts. With fruit and yogurt in the morning.
* Ham. Thick and smoky.