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Amparo Bertram

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12:50 pm: Service
One thing I like about Japan is that the service anywhere you go is almost always wonderful.

I went grocery shopping yesterday as usual. After I loaded my packages onto my bike and started heading for home, however, I noticed that I was riding rather low. I checked the tires, and sure enough, the rear tire was squished. It wasn't just flat; the rubber was cracked all the way around. This is possibly due to the cold, though judging by the wear on the tread it was probably an old tire anyway.

I couldn't do anything about it right away because I had promised to attend a two-hour English Salon for the International Exchange group. So I dusted off my spare bike and rode that instead. The participants of the previous English Salon had requested starting the session with a game, so I brought along the simple version of Apples to Apples I had made for school. It went over so well, I had a request to play it a second time halfway through the session.

After I got home, I made another batch of tortillas and mushroom/cheese spread, which has really turned into a favorite of mine recently. I thought I'd post the recipe for it, in case anyone else wanted to give it a try.

2 T butter
5 large shiitake mushroom caps, diced
1/2 c. cream (can substitute skim milk, though the result will be thinner)
1/2 c. Asiago, grated or chopped finely
(I've tried it with different kinds of cheese, but I like the flavor and texture of Asiago best.)
1/2 t. crushed garlic
1/8 t. salt
2 T vermouth

Sauté the mushrooms in the butter until golden brown, then add remaining ingredients and continue to cook until cheese completely melts. It's excellent on toast and goes amazingly well with Mexican rice. (I'm sure it would be great with potatoes, too, though I haven't tried that particular combination yet.) It will solidify into a spreadable paste if chilled; I usually keep it in the refrigerator and use it for making sandwiches or as a tortilla filling.

Today I walked my bike to the repair shop near the station. I was given the price estimate and told it would take about a half hour, so I went to hang out at the nearby department store for a while. When I came back, not only was the tire taken care of, the repairman had also oiled the bike, adjusted the rear basket and seat so they wouldn't be too close together, and changed my squeaky brakes, all for no extra charge.

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[User Picture]
From:melf42
Date:January 24th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC)
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I brought along the simple version of Apples to Apples I had made for school.

What's Apples to Apples?? (Do I know it by another name or do I get to add a game to my list?)

I'm sure it would be great with potatoes, too, though I haven't tried that particular combination yet

You mean you don't try everything with potatoes first??

[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 24th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)
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What's Apples to Apples?? (Do I know it by another name or do I get to add a game to my list?)

That's the official name of it. wednesday_10_00 introduced me to it. Essentially, you have two sets of cards--one set of nouns, one set of adjectives. (The two sets are "red apples" and "green apples.") You give each player (or team) several noun cards...when I do it with students, I generally limit them to three cards to save time.

One team is the "judge" and gets an adjective card. All the other teams have to try to find a word among their cards that best matches the adjective card. For example, let's say the adjective is "long" and the cards the team has are "chair," "pizza," and "train." They have to pick one of the three that is the most "long."

All the selected cards are placed in front of the "judge" team (so that they don't know which card came from which team). Of the cards selected, they have to decide which word best matches the adjective. Whoever submitted the winning card gets to keep the adjective card to mark that they won a point.

Everyone who submitted a card gets another one to bring their total back to the starting number. Play continues with the next team becoming the "judge." You can play until a certain time limit (generally the best way to go in a class) or a certain number of rounds (to ensure everyone gets to be the judge the same number of times), but the official way is to choose a certain number (say, five) and whoever wins five adjective cards first wins the game.

You mean you don't try everything with potatoes first??

I know, I know, I'm falling down on the job. It's just that potatoes take so long to cook...
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