You can’t beat US home cooked food

The US Asia bus from Las Vegas (hot tip: cheaper than the Greyhound) drops me on the outskirts of Los Angeles, at Monterey Park.

I buy a new watch strap and a refreshing green tea with succulent mango seeds from one of the many local Chinese shops.

I ask directions for downtown LA, using my rudimentary Spanish as the lady I ask speaks no English.

Poor people, and workers, on the no 70 bus. I am minority White. Everyone helpful and polite.

Downtown LA with its impressive skyscrapers.

After catching another bus, stressed from travelling in a strange land, I am picked up by my Servas host.

Servas was started after the Second World War to promote peace and understanding amongst nations.

Suddenly, I am whisked to heaven – yoga in the garden, fine wines on the veranda, then supper with soul conversations.

I realise that most of the food I have been eating in the US has been ethnic: Thai, Chinese or Indian.

This is my first taste of traditional American food.

Home cooked, with ingredients from the local farmers’ markets, it is superb.

Traditional July 4 food: barbecued and succulent spare ribs, homemade watermelon rind pickle, refrigerator cucumber pickle (Midwest speciality) and – officially – the best coleslaw I have ever tasted – courtesy of Angie’s father with spicy cayenne and refreshing parsley and cilantro.

The pudding: seasonal cherries picked that day by Angie in Leona valley, a nearby microclimate defying the Californian desert. Plus apricots, a blob of creme fraiche, and the most elegantly thin wholemeal pastry (a feat as such pastry is usually cludgy).

Bless you, Angie and Hans, for giving me sanctuary.

6 responses to “You can’t beat US home cooked food

  1. Catharine Stott

    Cludgy! What a fabulous word.

    That food sounds amazing. Don’t suppose you got the recipe for watermelon rind chutney?


  2. “I am minority White.”

    Glad to say that I experienced a similar experience at the St Pauls Carnival, most enjoyable it was too.

    The food sounded delicious, would love to have shared it.

    It reminded me of the numerous small acts of generosity that I came across while travelling in the States in my mid 20’s.

    My journey started with the expectation that Americans would be of a type, loud brash and fat.

    My fears could not have been further from the truth.


  3. Yes, true – there is nothing like direct experience for confounding expectations! LA was supposed to be scary and dangerous, but everyone was so kind and respectful…

    Thanks, Catharine, for noticing “cludgy”.

    After thinking I invented it, I just found it is used in computer-speak with a K and appears to have a similar function.

    That old zeitgist again…

    Let’s see how long it takes cludgy to become common parlance!


  4. Good food and sanctuary is even more appreciated when travelling, I’ve found.


  5. Pingback: 21 Days To Conquer Your Cooked Food Cravings On A Raw Food Diet. | Moms Work at Home

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