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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: USA

Cages at the White Rabbit tea room.

Some time ago a good friend of mine from Paris told me the most exquisite story. It was one of those stories, where the pictures never ever really leave your head again:

She told me about her grandmother who had been a Persian noble woman, who had moved to Paris  with her Russian husband. The story she told me about her was that she would frequently go to a special Tea house in Paris where all the ladies would bring their birds, in their cages.
The birds would be hung up on the ceiling to sing to each other, while the ladies were seated below, gossiping and sipping their tea…

Admitted the walls need some help...

Needless to say I have searched for such a place, but never found it. Only online did I find a contemporary art gallery in Sydney that has antique cages in their tea room… I found the picture through a great tea blog: The Tea Urchin.

When living in Newport there was the most elegant tea house in the garden, with a domed ceiling, and windows on the four corners. The walls were covered in old Zuber hand painted wallpaper, showing birds and greenery. It had been my dream to change this tea house into a functioning room again. With antique cages on the ceiling and comfortable seats and tables scattered round below.

The original interior... Love the lantern.

This tea house in Newport is an early 20th century copy of the 18th century original summerhouse, designed by the great Salem, Massachusetts carver/architect Samuel McIntire for Capt. Derby’s summer farm in Danvers Massachusetts in 1795. A young lady who visited the estate in 1802 wrote of going upstairs to the room above, “The air from the windows is always pure and cool and the eye wanders with delight over the beautiful landscape below…The room is ornamented with some Chinese figures and seems calculated for serenity and peace.”

How wonderful would it be to drink tea there on a summer afternoon, listening to the birds while catching up on the latest news.

Well, one can dream, no? Tweet tweet.

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Got eggs?

After missing Halloween last week I am not getting ready to miss Thanksgiving.
Around this time last year I was wondering why the Americans make stuffing outside of a bird and still call it stuffing?
Curious…  Anyway I digress… (I will write more about those experiences some time soon)

During a chat with an American friend, all of a sudden I had an enormous craving for EGGNOG! Last year, I gained 6 pounds in two weeks because of this brilliant stuff. May be it was the fresh eggs from our own chickens or my native Dutch respect for freshly ground nutmeg… I don’t know, but it is just too good. So try with caution… but for those working out and needing protein, it doesn’t get much better than this…

There are always a trillion variations on a traditional recipe. But in general the best recipes are usually the simplest…
You can spend forever splitting 20 eggs or add all kinds of strange ingredients. But why would you?

The one I found and use is the following, from a site dedicated to this liquid gold: http://www.eggnogrecipe.net, try the Alcoholic version. But if you leave out the booze it is just as yummy. (and great at breakfast too! It only has 3 million calories per sip, so it will keep you going for a while…)

Sink or sip?

Ingredients

6 eggs + 2 extra egg yolks
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar
pinch of salt (optional)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup bourbon (optional)

Directions

Start by whisking the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large pan until well-blended. Keep on whisking while you slowly pour in the milk until it is completely mixed-in. Next, set the pan on your stove’s burner and turn it to the lowest possible setting. Continuously whisk ingredients for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture reaches 160°F (71°C) and will coat the underside of a spoon. (use a thermometer for this, really!)

Next, remove the mixture from heat and strain it into a large-sized bowl, making sure to get out any pieces of cooked egg. Now stir in the bourbon, vanilla, and nutmeg, and transfer your mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate the mix for at least 4 hours before proceeding.

Finally, when you’re ready to serve your eggnog with alcohol, grab the heavy cream and whip it well. Now just fold in the chilled mix, pour, serve and enjoy!

Makes 14 servings. (or 3 depending on whether you can stop yourself.)

Now I better go and find myself some fresh eggs…

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Riddled and wrinkled...

When I visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming I got these incredible second hand cowboy boots. (or Western boots – depending on where you come from)

They are an authentic pair, originally hand made in the US of A.

Apart from the fact they are the most comfortable thing in the world, I must add they truly are the toughest pair of footwear I have ever encountered.
They carried me through African camel rides, horse trails through the American outback, New England snow storms and now Dutch autumns. And that is only after I got them!

The best thing about them is that their exterior leaves nothing to the imagination. They are just what they are. Wrinkled and riddled through actual life and experience, authentic, proven and tough as old boots…

This is why I found it so strange to meet people in Newport who choose to erase this kind of experience from their own faces.

Yee-haw!

Could you imagine to live without your own authentic face…
What would you have left?

(PS Actually my boots might not be as tough as they look anymore. Last week I bought some sheep skin boot liners, so now when I wear them it feels like puppies are licking my soul/soles!)

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Burn baby burn!

A lot has happened since my last post.

After surviving thanksgiving I also made it through Christmas unscathed.

But regretfully all brilliant things come to an end. US Immigration decided that two runs of three months were more than enough for a low life like me.
So I had to leave the USA at the end of January. So I flew back to the Netherlands to lick my wounds and come up with a battle plan.

Now I am already many months and a lot of confusion along, working on this mythical creature called a Visa/Greencard.

My initial plan was to get back based on ‘Extraoridinary abilities”.
So under the expert guidance of a real American Attorney (yes AA) I headed for my first failure.
She agreed that I was indeed extraordinary, but judged for her country that there was no national need for collaboration specialists as collaboration is not really any use for the national agenda. Competition (read: BANKERS) is more their cup of tea.
I will not go into this, but please see ‘The Inside Job” for more details on the real situation.

Damn that education!

So here I am now…  a new job and all my friends waiting for my return, but I have to wait till October till the new round of Visas is released. There is a maximum of 20.000 visas per year for the higher educated commercial employees. And subscriptions start in advance from April…
I am doing my best to find an alternative job for a quota exempt organisation, so I could come sooner… But off course  this would take more time to organise and mean that I would have to do something I hav eto do instead of the stuff I wanted to come over for…

But if you think it really is that simple, you haven’ seen the line of flaming hoops that you and especially your future employer have to jump through.

I will need to prove many things.
1. Most importantly I have to prove not to be a nuisance and take an Americans’ place.
Well how is one to do that? I don’t know all Americans… I am sure to make at least one or two Americans miserable with my arrival… Doing stuff that they won’t do, but could have done…

2. I should not take more or less money than an American would do and affect the job market with my arrival. To prove this they have devised the most unexplainable process in which my employer has to prove they give me enough but not too much money. Till this day I really don’t know how to understand this, but I am sure it will take 5 grand in lawyers fees to have this explained to someone who doesn’t give a damn.

3. I also have to prove that all my diplomas are in fact real and not imaginary.
At the cost of $100 I received a piece of paper with a shiny sticker stating that the Technical University Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam really exist! An extra copy (an extra sticker in fact, costs an additional $25)

4. And lastly I should really (no I mean REALLY) be needed.
If not, well you might as well stop now, as we really don’t see  the point of you wanting to come here anyway… Or at least that is how I translated the words from the attorney.

Patience deary...

The hardest thing of all this is that it is completely un-personal. This has nothing to do with me as a person, yet it will only just completely change my life.

Thanks guys.

The battle continues…

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Every day is Root beer float day!

I know it is almost winter and I am not a small kid… but I am guilty to a new pleasure and trust me, hope floats…

… in Root beer.

It is hard to describe what is so ridiculously good about this drink/desert/dinner/treat.
Could it be the bubbles? The froth? The creaminess? The special root flavour? The zinggg or the extreme overdose of sugar?

It is just all good.

Get yourself some Root beer with a kick, some creamy vanilla ice cream, and GO!

(don’t forget the straw to alternate spoons of cream with slurps of soda!)

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Just a quick mirror image back at me from the Yanks:


(PS Jeez I should get myself some straight pants. 🙂

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Yes really…

I am flying today…

… see you all on the other side.

F.

PS and thanks to everyone for their support and kind wishes.

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