Archive for the ‘Hodgepodge’ Category


Hodgepodge and, Yes, Food.

November 19, 2007

Holiday season is in full swing for us Westerners so all of the below tidbits could have been regular posts if I had the time. Something is better than nothing, no?

  • Skype or Vonage? Which one is better for talking to family back home? And by better I really mean cheap (free, if possible) and good connections.
  • The Olay Regenerist line is wonderful. Why pay for expensive creams that don’t work as well?
  • I made gyros the other night for dinner. They were scrumptious. They’re on my Comfort/Soul Food list. Want to make them? Leave a comment and I’ll post the recipe.
  • The only time we eat turkey around here is when it’s sliced from the deli. This Thanksgiving I’ll go traditional but instead of a turkey, I’ll be roasting a chicken. I might even cheat and get a rotisserie chicken from Sultan Center already made. Heh. P.S. I’ve never cooked a whole turkey. Ground turkey, yes. Whole turkey, no.
  • Bombay in Al Jial Mall is no longer there. Bummer. Is it me or is their ridiculously overpriced furniture made of MDF? Love some of their wall art and sconces.
  • How can Marks & Spencer expand their store and offer less products? I didn’t see any toys or books for children. For the first time in years, I didn’t buy their charity Christmas cards. I just couldn’t do it. They did nothing for me.
  • I finally broke down and hired a housekeeper. My father is already taking bets and he’s betting on her lasting eight weeks. I’m sure he told me this so that I could prove him wrong. Right, Dad? (Knowing my father, he really IS starting a pool at the office, taking bets from all of his employees. “10 to 1 on her lasting 8 weeks! Who’s in?”)
  • My husband went to Italy a few weeks ago and I stayed here. LIFE IS SO NOT FAIR!! He did, however, bring me back all of my favorite magazines. And some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, vanilla beans, grissini, purses – but my favorite things were the magazines. I’m so easy to please.
  • All of my favorite shows started back up in late September/early October but I haven’t been able to watch a single episode in its entirety. One of them comes on when it’s time to pick my son up from school and prepare lunch, the other comes on when it’s time to make dinner. I’m enjoying what little I see of them, though.
  • I have two stray cats that I feed which is pissing my husband off to high heaven. I promised to call PAWS but he thinks they won’t make the trip for cats. Golden retriever yes, stray cats, no. We’ll see.


  • When a Lebanese friend invites you over for lunch, the appropriate term would be “feast”. My mother would have been in heaven. She LOVES Arab food, unlike my American friends’ mothers who come here and whine about how the food is gross. Give my mama good stuffed grapes leaves, kushari, shish tawook, fattoush, tabbouleh, kubbah and she’s good to go. (Don’t forget the Lebanese baklava.) And yes, by the way, she makes most of the above but her hummous is more Greek-style: less tahini and not as smooth as you get it over here. She also used to make Lamajhan which is called Arayes over here. I can remember her making stuffed grape leaves when I was younger but I’d never touch them. Silly me!

Rachael Ray Middle Eastern?

September 30, 2007

From p. 65 of Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals For Kids:

My sister Maria makes this dish in memory of our Grandma Betar’s cooking. As children, we loved Grandma Betar and her wonderful Middle Eastern cooking. Now that we are grown, my sister is really good at keeping Grandma Betar with us all through the preparation of such recipes. Today, Maria’s own kids, Nick and Jess, love Middle Eastern dishes like this one.

I’m guessing the Middle Eastern grandmother is on Ray’s mother’s side since she talks a lot about her maternal grandfather and never of her maternal grandmother. I wonder why she hasn’t talked about her Middle Eastern ancestry like she has with her grandfather’s Sicilian heritage and to a small extent, her father’s Cajun side. Think of it: most Middle Eastern appetizers are very quick to prepare, i.e. hummus, fattoush, spaghetti with yogurt and pine nuts, tabbouleh, green beans with olive oil and tomatoes, rocket salad with pomegranate seeds, etc.

So why isn’t she cashing in on her Middle Eastern side?



November 13, 2006
  • Dust in November? In the nearly ten years that I’ve lived here, I don’t remember dust in November. My husband, a Kuwaiti who grew up here, doesn’t remember it being dusty in November. What gives?
  • My son was absent from school for most of last week due to an upper respiratory infection. On Saturday, his teacher asked him where he was the week before. He told her he went to Italy.
  • Hats off to the architect and horticulturist who designed the main park in Fintas. We took our children there yesterday and had a good time. BUT. Someone clogged up the bathroom and now there’s a huge lake of raw sewage in the park. Not cool. There was a lot of broken glass around too. It’s a shame.
  • *Eye candy alert* Robbie Williams in the video “Lovelight”.
  • I heard they’re bringing Carrefour to The Avenues mall. My son is VERY excited but I keep telling him that it won’t be like the ones in Rome. He’s expecting freshly baked pizza, wonderful breads, exquisite fresh cheese, cool school pencil cases, and more. I hope he’s not going to be disappointed.
  • I came home from picking up my son last week and my housekeeper told me that my parents called while I was out. I panicked because it was around 5AM their time. I called them about ten times and couldn’t hear anything, but they could hear me. They panicked because I usually don’t call them out of the blue, our usual day to talk is Sunday. They called me back and we were all relieved to know that there was nothing wrong on either side and NO, they didn’t call. After some investigation, I found out it was a friend who lives right here in Kuwait who called. Yesterday, I wondered why my parents didn’t call. Turns out they did, and left a message but I was never told about it. My housekeeper is on her last leg. After this, no more. I’m done with the drama.
  • Seriously, what’s up with the dust?

Because Something Is Better Than Nothing. Right?

October 17, 2006
  • After having Orbit for a year, we’re going to cancel because they’ve lost most of the programming we signed up to watch. Most of the shows that were once on Orbit can now be seen on MBC4 which is a FTA channel. The only reason we held on this long was to see Season 6 of the Sopranos. I watched the first two episodes and was really disappointed. My parents told me it wasn’t as good as before and they were right.
  • I’m going to try to go without any satellite pay-package because I don’t think Showtime or ART/Star Select are any better than Orbit. I think I can get by with MBC4, One TV, and Italian channels via Hotbird.
  • But what about Eastenders, you say? Well, BBC Prime decided to move it to the weekends (their weekend: Saturday and Sunday). You have to sit through two hours of it at one shot and since they made the switch, I haven’t watched it once. I wrote to BBC Prime about how I thought it was a mistake to switch it and they actually replied to me in a very personal way. I was shocked because when I offered a few suggestions to Orbit, I got a “Thank you SIR, we’ll forward you letter to our office in Bahrain.”
  • My housekeeper actually had the nerve to eavesdrop on a telephone conversation I had with the woman she called earlier and hung up on. My maid was trying to call her friend (a maid) and when her friend’s employer picked up the phone, my maid hung up. Since the employer has caller ID, she called me and asked me why I call and hang up on her all the time. We figured out that my maid was the one who has been calling and the woman was nice about the whole thing. My maid listened in on the conversation from the kitchen phone. I caught her right before I hung up. She was hiding behind the kitchen door.
  • Since Ramadan started, most of my time has been spent in the kitchen. I’m not as inspired as I was last year, and I think I’ll be relieved once Eid arrives.
  • My children go to bed early and are early to rise. I like it that way but it leaves us with no social life.
  • My daughter, who turns 2 shortly, is very opinionated about the clothes and shoes she wears, and which songs are being played in the car. God help me.


September 23, 2006
  • It took me forever to get used to the weekends being Thursday and Friday instead of Saturday and Sunday. Now I hear our weekends will be Friday and Saturday. Bah. I love Thursday-Friday weekends and will be sad to see them go.
  • I saw something in the paper the other day about some MP who wanted to halt the construction or allocation of a plot for a coptic church because of what the pope said in his speech a few weeks back. First off, Coptic Christians don’t follow the pope. Following the pope is what sort of caused the big rift in Christianity and the outcome were two separate paths: Orthodoxy and Catholicism. I had to shake my head at that article.
  • The same article called for a stop to the “crusade” in private schools in Kuwait. An MP, maybe the same one in the above rant, made the accusation that a foreign teacher went skinny dipping in the school pool in front of students. Scandalous. I want details. I find it funny that some MPs who rant and rave about evil coeducation have children in, you guessed it, coed private schools. For the record, my son goes to private school and they aren’t allowed to have any decorations for any Western holiday, religious or otherwise and so the idea that there’s a crusade going on in private schools is ridiculous.
  • Going shopping at the supermarket this morning was like shopping right before World War III. I’ve never seen a Sultan Center completely out of produce but the one I went to this morning was nearly out of everything except herbs and fruit. I was lucky to get my hands on some tomatoes and onions. Sometimes I think people have forgotten that Ramadan is about fasting and not about eating.
  • KTV2 on satellite rocks. During the day they broadcast cooking shows, Martha Stewart and home design shows. All without commercials.