On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.

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On a Burger Trail

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It was about 2003 as I was working on a long-term project for an upstart company. A retired friend and I would talk about him coming down to my work area for lunch. Our target was a nearby establishment having a local reputation for good hamburgers.

He came, we went, had a good time, and even discussed the burger. He returned a month later, but we went to a different place for a burger – discussed and compared. Another time, a third place, a third burger, and then ranking the three. Little did we know about the road ahead.

My project ended, but we continued trying different places – especially ones with a positive reputation or recommendations. I’m not sure of the timeline, but a third friend joined us after he unexpectedly lost his job; thus more comparisons, rankings, and notes.

In July 2005 I decided to start a blog to post reviews of our ventures. I hustled to get local readers by commenting at various local blogs and bulletin boards … then a major (and unexpected) break … a high-profile writer at the Cincinnati Enquirer contact me, and he wanted to have lunch with us. With a photographer and his notepad, we met at the place of our choosing.

I was in Abilene, Texas the day the Enquirer published. Emails were flying into our mailbox, but I didn’t respond because the link to the article was malfunctioning. I did my morning presentation in Abilene, and I was anxious during my flight to Cincinnati. I returned home to discover a call from a local radio station whose powerful signal reaches most of the country, let alone a feature article in the paper’s Life section that extended to an inside page, and many comments on the blog. Yep – the next night we were on the radio for about an hour.

Receiving burger recommendations was one of the benefits from the publicity … thus the reviews chronicling of the adventures of Bucky, Freddie, and Wolfie continued. Eventually, we were also featured in the Enquirer’s weekly entertainment paper – CinWeekly. A local food personality also invited us to her radio show. An upstart podcast company also did a 30-minute interview.

Our journey continued for a few more years. Jobs, projects, or health issues caused us to fade away. Nonetheless, a touch of pride still remains for being one of the Cincinnati Burger Guys … so, Happy Hamburger Week.

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From the top down: Freddie, Bucky, and Wolfie

 

Meals: The Musical – Act 3: Sides

The Story
Meals: The Musical is an original aFa production is about an important aspect of daily life – eating.

Whether it is snack, something on the run, a glorious sit-down feast, or something in between and regardless of the time of day, food is a life necessity. There are three aspects to a truly fantastic meal: the food, the occasion, and the company. We know Meals: The Musical is a festive occasion where friends to gather to share wonderful music – thus the acts will focus on what the dining friends will encounter.

MealsPlaybillProgram (Past Posts)

Act 3: Side Dishes
Meals have side dishes to accompany the main course by providing balance and variety to the meal. Sides could be vegetables (including tomatoes and beans), grains & their products, pastas, soups and others. So, there are numerous appropriate words that must be included in your song title.

Producer’s Note of Caution: This act has flexibility, but fruits, meats, desserts, beverages, or ingredients as herbs, spices, flavoring, and any other item stretching the producer’s broad boundaries.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
Ladies and gentleman, this is a vintage song for me because I remember it will when I owned the vinyl album with this song back in the day. Their hits were big and numerous – Cherish, Windy, Along Comes Mary, Never My Love, The Time It Is Today, Everything That Touches You, No Fair at All, Time For Livin’, and more – but on this day, we proudly welcome The Association singing Broccoli.

Flashbacks: On Food and Recipes

Whether eating in a restaurant, a special dinner at home, getting that special treat, or time in the kitchen, we enjoy many aspects of a meal. Here are some selections for my archival vault that may capture your interest. Enjoy, visit as many as you wish, and hopefully you will comment on the post you visited. Are you going to make any of these?

On Hot Sauces

Original Source Unknown

Original Source Unknown

A local grocery offers many oddities for shoppers. It’s a large store with many imports and hard-to-find items. I’m not one who enjoys serious heat with my food, but a trip to the hot sauce display is a source of cheap entertainment and a test for my content organizing skills.

Some name sauces after people as Crazy Jerry, Mountain Man, Captain Redbeard, Papa Jack, Melinda, Susie, and Dave.

Some sauces seek emotions for their names as Fear, Envy, Measure & Pain, Tropical Tears, Pain is Good, and Squeal Like a Pig.

Some sauces seek names from the dark side as Beyond Death, Sweet Death, The Ghost, Ghost Deadly, Red Ghost, After Life, Tortured Soul, Devil’s Lightning, The Reaper, Reaper Sling Blade, Liquid Lucifer, Pure Passion, Hot Sauce from Hell, Hell’s Passion, and Hell Sauce.

Some sauces seek fiery names as Fatal Fire, Ring of Fire, Jamaican Hell Fire, Hell’s Inferno, Mad Dog Inferno, Pyromania, See Jane on Fire, and Hot as Shit Hot Sauce.

Some sauces seek backside names as Ass Kickin’, Megasoreass, Asbirin, Ass in Space, Ass in Hell, Ass in Tub, Ass in Antarctica, JackAss, LazyAss, Hog’s Ass, Buttpucker, Butt Twister, and Brand New Asshole.

Some sauces seek names with results as Fiery Fart, Flamin’ Flatulence, Sir Fartalot, Queen of Farts, Old Fart, Red Rectum, Rectal Rocket Fuel, Rectal Ripper, Colon Blow, Holy Shit, and Screaming Sphincter.

Some sauces seek other sources for their names as Liquid Stooped, Hot Buns on the Beach, Pecker Power, Angry Cock, Peppers Hurt So Good, Sergeant Peppers, Bite Me, Crazy Mother Pucker’s, Sauce Bitch, and my favorite – Smack My Sweet Ass and Call Me Sally.

Which of these is your favorite? Viveka, did you find any potential remedies?

On A to Z

a-z-2013Someone declared April as A-to-Z Challenge Month. Sure, the challenge’s intent is to have a separate post for each letter, but hey – I have a streak of independence.

With 1,167 posts before this one, why not use my archives to meet the challenge? After all, even frequent readers aren’t aware of some of the posts.

Therefore, I present A Frank Angle’s A-to-Z. Visit as many as you like, because as in my tradition, there is something for all …. so hopefully you’ll visit at least one.

AFAa2zBadgeA is for Acquaintance – People that were not in my graduation class: set 1 and set 2

B is for Ballroom – … and ballroom dance delivers benefits

C is for Cruising – We like cruising, so start your trip with a click

D is for Dinner Group – … We hosted a night of Chopped

E is for Education Reform – Although the need is obvious, here are the obstacles

F is for Frank – Yep, that’s my name, but these are the All-Time Franks in baseball

G is for God and Government – I must say that this post about the separation of church and state is pretty darn good

H is for Handbells – It takes many bells to make one instrument

I is for Italian – I’m 100% Italian heritage, and Ellis Island is an important place

J is for Joys – To whatever give you joy, but for some of us, it’s reliving the cartoons of our youth, and here is where the series started, which led to the first honoree

K is for Knowledge – What do you know about supersonic kangaroos?

L is for LearnerLearning should never stop

M is for Moderate – This early post defines an independent moderate, thus shows why neither party wants me … well, except for my vote

N is for News – Staying informed is important, but there is something more biased than the media

O is for Ohio River – A story from my hometown on a river during my youth.

P is for Politics – I wrote this shortly after the 2008 election, but before the Tea Party’s emergence (which is what makes this post interesting)

Q is for Quantum – Actually, this past post was On a Quantum Thought

R is for Recipes – I’m sort of a Foodie, so try Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti or my own spaghetti sauce that offers a little crunch

S is for Science – Like sports, science has players, plays, rules, and boundaries

T is for Trieste – A beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea that is the place of my birth

U is for Universe – The universe is vast and inspiring, and this post includes one of my absolute favorite videos

V is for Victory – The raised arm created an unexpected moment in college

W is for Wonders – There are many wonders in our world, and let’s not forget Fibonacci, Pi, and Tau

X is for X-Factor – and one X-factor in life is forgiveness

Y is for Why because I can – This is the first main post about the religion-science interchange; now there are 44, plus here is the very first post

Z is for Zinfandel – I enjoy a wide spectrum of wines, especially reds, but zins were the first to capture my fancy – and cheers to the wine group at church

AAA+++ Bonus for the bloggers on my sidebar and on the More Bloggers page, for as without them and you, I wouldn’t be here, so try to visiting someone soon that you don’t know, and tell them I sent you.

Addendum: To learn more about the A Frank Angle A-to-Z Challenge, click here.

On a Nonruling Farro

FarroOneI know a few regular visitors are vegetarians, while some others stay aware of healthy food choices. With summer around the corner, this dish will be on our menu.

Farro is an ancient grain produced by a specific variety of wheat. Today, Italian farmers produce most of the faro, but it is not easy to find. If you find it, beware of the price. With that in mind, I recommend Earthly Delights Organic Italian Pearled Farro from Amazon.

As far as grains go, farro is large. We enjoy cooked farro’s nutty flavor and the chewy texture. (It cooks in water more similar to spaghetti, not rice.)

FarroTwoFarro Salad is one of our favorites, which involves adding vegetables of choice to the 2 cups of cooked grain. Personally, I enjoy adding a variety of vegetables to give the dish color – that is adding items as chopped purple cabbage, peas, shaved carrots, and cucumbers.

Once assembled, adding a dressing completes the dish, which serves as a side dish or even a light meal. We prefer making our own citrus vinaigrette by mixing the following: olive oil (1/3 c, 90 ml), balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp, 30 ml), and lemon juice (2 tbsp, 30 ml). (Note: Substituting orange juice for lemon juice provides a different taste and level of sweetness.)

Here’s another recipe we recently tried: Farro Primavera with Parsley-Pecan Pesto. We found a wonderful recipe in the Wall Street Journal, but this link is the same recipe. This was a delightful dish, but involved a lot of chopping and blanching, which is something that we think can be done ahead. By the way, the pesto is the key.

Refrigerate either of these delights for a few days of snacks and/or lunches. Bon appetite!