Sunday, June 25, 2023

International Character

Yesterday, part of my horoscope today said:

"Let someone draw you into another world"
So that's what I did.


This weekend Major League Baseball is playing a series in London. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the teams (and the Chicago Cubs was the other).

I don't usually watch TV in the morning, but since London is six hours ahead of St Louis, at 11 am Hubby Tony turned the pregame show on. The game started at 12:10. After that it was just like a regular broadcast, so I half watched while doing other things, and completely walked away after the Cards were down by six runs. The final score was 9-1 in favor of the Cubs.


Later in the afternoon Tony and I went to church, then out to dinner. On Friday the newspaper's restaurant critic had highlighted the Chicken Schwarma at the Original Schwarma House. The restaurant is less than a mile from the church, but we had never been there before. Now we can say we have.

We ordered both a chicken schwarma and a veggie plate. Each entree came with a choice of a spread and salad. Because we shared everything half and half, I can say I tried chicken schwarma (roasted on a vertical spit and sliced like gyro meat), spicy rice, tabbouleh, mutabbal (eggplant, yogurt, tahini, and olive oil), yalanji (stuffed grape leaves), falafel, cucumber yogurt salad, and hummus. Not a bad dish in the bunch.


Our last international adventure was back at our church. It has an active Hispanic ministry, including a Brazilian community. That group was sponsoring a Festa Junina (June Fest, celebrating the nativity of St. John the Baptist) after their monthly Portuguese mass.

Earlier in the week the organizers realized they needed additional volunteers, and put out the word. The email we received said that everyone was welcome, and there was no need to speak Portuguese, so Tony and I decided it would be an interesting way to spend the evening.

We arrived a half hour before the Festa began, but I could tell some people had already been hard at work. There were food booths set up on both sides of the parish center, and another tent that had activities for children. The tables and stage were nicely decorated.

As soon the as mass was over crowds of people entered the room. I heard there was somewhere between 400 and 500 in attendance...from seniors all the way down to infants. A disc jockey played music from the stage, and later in the night a band started.

We were assigned to the popcorn booth. A member of the Brazilian community manned the machine. Tony bagged the popcorn. I sold the bags. I soon came up with a system of communicating with people who didn't speak English. Everything was sold through tickets, and there was a sheet on the table that showed the price value of each ticket. Popcorn cost one blue ticket. When someone came up to me I would smile, point to the blue ticket, and raise my index finger to signify one.

Over the course of the night I saw people carrying containers holding the Brazilian version of hot dogs, corn on the cob, tamales both sweet and savory,  churros, and lots of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I was able to sample some creamy hominy pudding, both with and without peanuts and salgadinha, a generic term for a savory doughnut-hole looking fried snack that tasted of corn. 

As volunteers, Tony and I got tickets that allowed us to purchase food and non-alcoholic drinks after our shift. However, when that time came I was still stuffed for dinner. I got some Brazilian peanut brittle to take home. Tony chose a piece of one of the bolos diversos (assorted homemade cakes).

Five years ago: Undesirable Expounding


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun and good for you guys for volunteering.

  2. It's too easy to give up on the Cardinals this year. Come backs are not their thing.

  3. The San Joaquin Valley has a large Portuguese population, most coming from the Azores. Basques, too. My hometown had a Portuguese festival (festa) every year and we went because my parents knew so many people. One year my good friend was the queen. Lots of the dairymen here are Portuguese, as was my husband's maternal grandmother's family. Terry is one quarter Portuguese.

  4. Sounds like a very international and successful weekend minus watching the Redbirds. At least they played better on Sunday. The chicken schwarma looks pretty yummy.

    1. Sunday's game was great! Since they scored more than six runs we were able to take advantage of a promotional offer for 60 cent coffee at a local gas station.

  5. Sounds like a fun but filling weekend! I love Middle Eastern food, especially chicken shwarma!