Economics 101, a Novel, ch_36 -- Learning Island Cuisine Basics

(The story starts here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch00.html.

The previous chapter starts here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch35-bamboo-lumber.html.)

Why do things keep getting mushy? Am I an incurable romantic, or is it just the impossible situation our co-protagonists are in?

[JMR20160508: There was a conversation that happened on this day that I forget to write down. Also, I thought that some of what they were cooking might be interesting. This will take several edits, maybe more than a day.
The original is backed up at something like http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/backup-jmr20160508-economics-101-novel.html.
]



Karel opened his eyes. It was still dark, but the rain had stopped and it was no longer as cold. Bobbie was no longer shivering, and he thought about going back to his side of the tent, but he would have had to wake her and rearrange the bedrolls, so he decided to stay where he was. Reaching for his watch, he checked the time. It was ten past four, so he went back to sleep.

When he awoke again, it was past dawn and He and Bobbie had both shifted to their backs in their sleep. He lay there, looking at the tent ceiling and not really thinking.

"Good morning, my love." Bobbie's voice drifted over him.

"You're awake."

"So are you. Are we married, yet?"

"Huh?"

"I'm not just forgetting a week or so?"

Karel tried to remember for sure what day it was. "It's Thursday. We have now been on this island for three weeks. The wedding is next week."

"So I guess I shouldn't roll over on top of you and kiss you?"

Karel sat up suddenly, and Bobbie followed quite leisurely, smiling mischievously.

"And the shame of it is that I won't be able to use this trick to get you up once we're married."

"Sadist. Give me a ..."

But she was already kissing him.

"Okay, Honey, I'm awake now. Let's get to work, or we'll be tempted to move the wedding up a week."

"What should we do, today?"

"I'm thinking we need to get more food."

"You're probably right. We can't get started on the hut until the first hundred of those have had time to dry, right?"

"Yeah. And I'm wishing we had already cut a bunch of those half-inch bamboo."

"Okay, that's something we can do today."

"I'm thinking of learning how to weave bamboo. Make a laundry basket. See if we can use woven bamboo for the walls."

"Well, let's pray about it and get a start on the day."

After prayers, exercises and breakfast, they hiked above the stand of one-inch bamboo to the stand of half-inch bamboo and started cutting. The half-inch culms were about nine feet long and had thinner walls, and were much easier to cut. They had two hundred culms cut before noon, and took them back to the water for leaching.

"I want a look at your book on plants."

"Oh?" And Karel went to get it out of his trunk. He closed the trunk and set the book on top, and Bobbie flipped through the pages.

"Here. I thought I saw these near the bamboos we just took."

"Sweet potatoes. That would be a nice addition to our diet. Let's go look.

So they went up to look and found sweet potatoes growing just south of the stand of half-inch bamboo. Nearby, they also found ripening peanuts and cumin. They collected several of the sweet potatoes and took samples of the peanuts and peanut leaves and vine leaves, and of the cumin, and then went over the ridge to fill their backpacks with other foods for their larders.

Back at camp, they checked the sweet potatoes, peanuts, and cumin against the descriptions in their books, and built a fire. They spent most of the afternoon experimenting with different ways of preparing the foods they now had available, reading the scriptures to each other and talking while they cut and cleaned and mixed and waited for things to boil and cook.

[JMR20160508: One of the things they tried was a lentil soup with sweet potatoes, onions, wild cabbage, and squash, flavored with cumin, eaten with baked breadfruit. And they talked while they cooked. And I'll write more about this later.
]

"So, are you going to clean these potatoes?"

"Sure."

"You were telling me about this girl who made a pass at you in high school."

"Mmmm?"

"You said she stayed with your family for a couple of years."

"Oh. Jeanie."

"These lentils are clean, do we have water?"

"The bottle over there is fresh."

"I'd like to know more about Jeanie and her family."

"Well, you know, we shouldn't gossip."

"I can guess why she wanted to do the whole football team."

"Speculating is not good, either."

"But her father abused her."

"Yes, he did."

"Are you done with the knife?"

"Should we boil the potatoes with the lentils?"

"Sound good. And you said he is now the bishop."

"Here's the knife. He repented. Oh, okay, it does need explaining."

"See? Oh, onions make me cry."

"Let me cut them. Jeanie's mother was brought up in the tradition that family love required a lot of hands-on."

"Hands-on is not necessarily abuse."

"And what your mom told you once about power, too."

"Okay."

"Her father's family had a strong tradition with the chattelry interpretation of marriage and family. "

"Okay, that's not going to be a good mix. You're finished with the onions. Those should actually go in last. I'll do the cabbage and squash, why don't you look at the cumin?"

"Squash?"

"I think it would go well with the rest."

"Okay. Both her parents bathed her and her little brothers and sisters when they were young, and the family would often bathe two at a time in the shower, even when they were teens. Saved water and time."

"Okay."

"Her father would give all the children massages, and sometimes his hands would go places."

"That's not good. It's bad enough dealing with that from a date or a professor, but if it's your father, that would be hard to separate yourself from."

"Jeanie and Greg had had a fight, and she decided she would get even with him."

"Okay, now I see how that came together. People do stupid things when they start fighting each other."

"Exactly. Is that enough of their story?"

"Obviously, you think both he and Greg repented."

"Well, I was a little worried when she started coming by for math help, but Greg told me he didn't mind my helping her. Then she started hinting, and I missed her hints, and one day she got mad at me for it. Fortunately Mom was there and we were able to convince that it wasn't that I thought I was too good for her. Then she started coming over to study math for real."

"Which neither Greg nor her father understood, I suppose?"

"Right. She came over crying once when things got really bad, and finally told me what her father would do, and Greg had gotten involved. That's when I lost my temper and went over to give her father a piece of my mind. Greg happened to still be there, and they started taunting me, and I lost it and just lit into them."

"You said you lost the fight, too?"

"Her dad was all for making me swear I'd never see her again, but Greg knew I wasn't really seeing her romantically."

"He believed you?"

"This cumin, what, we just throw these grain things in the pot?"

"Oh, yeah. Those are the seeds, and they can be used whole or ground. Just throw them in."

"Greg was another of my buddies that would go race on the back roads at night on weekends. And he kind of knew he was doing something wrong. He also trusted me when I said Jeanie and I weren't into any hanky panky."

"Still, ..."

"He let me up, and then we talked. Her dad got mad several times, but Greg listened. Greg was actually the one who suggested Jeanie stay with my family."

"That could help explain why she would eventually forgive him."

"Yeah. Anyway, after Greg started meeting with the missionaries, he started talking with her parents. At first, they were both really upset. Came over to our house several times for serious discussions with my parents. The second time they came, they were threatening to call in the police."

"That was after Jeanie was staying with your family?"

"Yeah."

"That's understandable, from their point of view."

"Which I pointed out. And Jeanie told her dad that he was still her dad and she appreciated lots of things he did for her, but she really didn't want him to touch her any more. And he listened."

"How did everyone know he listened?"

"He went back and talked rationally with his kids. He was so rational, they weren't afraid to tell him they preferred he not touch them at all for a while."

"He took that okay?"

"Her mom did not. She was a little afraid he would go out of control."

"How long did it take before they trusted him to give them massages without touching them where they didn't want?"

"Several years. But her mom first had to learn how to let him give her massages."

"That explains quite a lot, in and of itself."

"Took quite a bit of them learning how to negotiate whether they wanted "deep massages" from each other or just "health massages".

"I see. So, basically, they didn't try to hide things from each other?"

"Also, they took things slow in a lot of ways. He didn't start talking with the missionaries until a year after Jeanie came to live with us. He wanted to be sure he knew what he was getting into, and he wanted to give her mom room to believe he could handle trying to change."

"Wow. He understood things, and it sounds like a case of bad traditions, like the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. I guess I can see how Jeanie could maybe decide to trust him again."

"When he got baptized, he was up front about things with the whole ward. And we had an agreement that any of his kids could come to our house if they needed to."

"So now your ward back home has a bishop who understands things from the point of view of fighting in the trenches, so to speak."

"Right."

"Oh, I think the lentils are boiling dry." And they took the pot off the fire and stirred it, but the lentils were just fine. And they ate it for a late lunch, pouring it over baked breadfruit.

"So, you've never given me a massage. Do you give massages?" Bobbie asked.

"Do you want a massage?" Karel returned the question.

"You could rub my back."

"I'd love to." And he knelt behind her and massaged her back for a few minutes.

"You do give massages."

"Dad taught me how. I've just been too shy to volunteer."

"Your turn." And they traded places.

[JMR201605101401

"And there are problems," Bobbie continued, "with the 'deep' massage versus 'health' massage dichotomy."

"Now that you mention it, yeah, what the trainers sometimes do for football injuries can get way down deep into the muscles. I guess it's probably best to be explicit -- non-sexually stimulating versus sexually stimulating. But that feels either too blatant or too clinical. Why do we human beings seem so often to get ourselves sandwiched between embarrassment and honesty?"

"Why do we so often prefer pain instead of embarrassment?"

"Is this one of those questions about abstract values that is going to be on the final exam?"

"How's that?"

"Nice. A little to the right, please. But you're really spoiling me. Before you spoil me completely, let's get back to our scriptures."
]

In the late afternoon, Bobbie said she wanted to go back to the mouth of the northwest stream, to look at plants near the stream, so they hiked back around the beach to it. Hiking in from the shore a few hundred feet, they found garlic growing among onions, and also found ginger root. Taking more samples, they returned to camp over the ridge, picking up more green leafy vegetables on the way.

Back at camp again, they continued experimenting with cooking until late evening.

"I guess we now have what we need to treat simple colds," Bobbie commented.

"I hope that doesn't mean one of us will be soon getting sick."

"That's not funny."

"I'm not trying to be funny."

In the dusk of the evening, they went down to the water and got the second hundred one-inch culms out of the water, bringing them back to dry in the shade of the thicket.

And they retired under the stars with the tent between them.


(The link to the next chapter will be here when it's ready is here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/06/economics-101-novel-ch37-legal.html.)

(The chapter index is here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2016/04/economics-101-novel-index.html)

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