Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Cooking

(this is a picture of the Ecuadorian flag flying in the city of Quito)
Darbenstien has fallen asleep on the couch and I hardly know what to do with myself. This is completely unprecedented. And beautiful. You’d think I could come up with something, but I don’t want to waste a nap (which Darby no longer takes and hasn’t since she was 2---I hear it’s genetic, so thanks for nothing, Britney!) on housework. So, what do you think I did? I’ll break the suspense. I ate a whole can of spaghettios. With some goldfish crackers mixed in. It was actually remarkably undesirable, but I ate it nonetheless. Which brings me to another mission story.

If you are looking for a heart-warming, goose bump inducing story, you’ve come to the wrong place. I have those stories; I just never seem to tell them. My spiritual stories are sacred to me. I have to get to know you a little better before I’ll tell those :)

This story is about how nasty I am. Well, most of the stories of my life are about how nasty I am, but this one is different. If you’ve served a mission, you know that you have to get used to eating things that are not exactly what you’d eat at home. Well, I’m not domestic, as we all know, and my Mama wasn’t there to cook for me. So, left to my own devices, my main meal was a mixture of corn flakes, tuna, and barbeque sauce. I know; take a minute to barf and read on.

Tuna and barbeque sauce is something by which I still stand. Give it a shot and then write me back to tell me thanks. I grew up in south Georgia, mind you, and while most Georgians know better than to mix tuna with, well, anything, we all know how important barbeque is to our culture.

That said, I know that my concoction is not only unholy, but unconscionable.

So, we went to an investigator’s house after church one Sunday and began to help the womenfolk prepare lunch for the father. The father was named Fausto and he was a booming, imposing man. Fausto didn’t want us to come around in the first place, but he allowed it because his wife wanted us to come. The first time we met with them, they invited us to have lunch. My comp was an interestingly arrogant girl from Bolivia (la Paz). Fausto asked us our names, and we told him. “Hermana Judd y Hermana Renfijo.” He demanded our first names and Renfijo went on and on about not telling people our first names. She said, “But you can call us ‘Hermanita’.” In Spanish, “ita” added to the end of a word is endearing, and means “little.” Fausto boomed, “I DON’T DO ‘ITAS’!” Renfijo, who always had to be right, said, “You don’t call your wife (who was named Rosa) ‘Rosita?!” She was challenging him and he was ticked. He thundered, “No! I call my wife Rosey!” It was so tense in the dining room with all his children sitting in silence, staring at their father and my comp being super stupid. Without thinking, I said, “So, can we call you Fausty?”

There was silence. This unnaturally huge macho man turned to me, his eyes wide. Wide with what? I didn’t know. I was pretty sure I should just run for the hills and make a new life.

The silence was unnerving. It was long. It was horrifying. And then he roared with laughter. What a relief! I told him our names, but that we preferred to be called “hermana.” He obliged.

So, anyway, weeks later he came home to find us helping his daughter (who was our age) make his lunch. He saw me in the kitchen and said, “Oh, no!” I was genuinely concerned. I asked what was wrong and he said, “Hermana Judd is cooking?! I’m going to have to eat tuna and corn flakes!” And he laughed and laughed at me.

Much like Rodney Dangerfield, I get no respect. Fausto was wonderful and I adored his family. I learned a lot while teaching them. I hope to see them in the hereafter, when they come on a weekend vacation to the Telestial Kingdom. While my cooking skills have improved since then (only slightly), I think I’ll still make them some tuna and corn flakes. I mean, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, right?

What’s something nasty you’ve had to eat? OR, tell me one of your mission stores.


  1. Did you tell me about Tuna and BBQ sauce? I swear you did. AND I LOVE IT!! Because I don't eat mayo, I have to find other things to mix in my tuna. The usual things I put in there are mustard, plain yogurt and BBQ sauce. Delish. Corn Flakes, though? Seriously?

    Anything thing I picked up in South America is the joy of drinkable yogurt. And putting that same yogurt over dry cereal. Makes a crunchy, yogurty, delicious mess. And I'm all about the mess.

    And you want to talk nasty eats? One phrase: PAPAS CON CUERO!!


  2. true story, Bing. you are a team player, that's for sure. clarification for anyone interested is that papas con cuero is a soupy mix of potatoes and pig skin, boiled together. I just couldn't eat mine and Bing didn't want to offend anyone, so she ate mine AND hers when the giver left the room. she suffered the pig hair scratching down herthroat as she swallowed the skin without chewing. delicious.

  3. On my mission I ate meatloaf that was sitting in about 3 inches of oil, then watched as a cockroach ran across my plate. I also ate chitlins. The grossest thing I ever drank on my mission was grapefruit leaf tea. It had so much sugar in it that it was more like syrup than a liquid. We should have bottled it as a gourmet alternative to maple syrup. We could have made millions! Who wouldn't want pancakes with grapefruit leaf syrup?

  4. I ate pig stomach on my mission. It tasted good the whole 20 minutes it took to chew the one bite.
    Don't recommend mix it with BBQ sauce and corn flakes...

  5. Thanks for the story. I will have to try the tuna, corn flakes with bbq sauce. When I was in High school my sisters and I would mix tuna and mayo and put it on fried corn tortillas. We loved that stuff but it is so not healthy.


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