Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday: West African peanut soup again - with elbow noodles

Yesterday Richard helped me to chop veggies, and clean during and afterwords cooking.  We made a good soup, I think - not too spicy, just enough and overall healthy with all the veggies we put in it.  I was floored as to how everybody is concerned about things being clean in Nickelsville:  Richard was interrupting himself many times during chopping to just clean the area he was chopping on and the floor under our feet, covered with carrot peels and other refuse.  Also, I kept putting stuff into the sink, meaning to wash them after the soup was done, but no need - several times people who went through the kitchen while we were cooking did just that: stopped by the sink, and washed what was in it, then kept going...

When I arrived Mike was just in the middle of cooking chicken and dumpling soup: we smiled at each other, because he and I crossed our paths before, but none of us could remember when and how.  He was very serrious about his soup and obviously had experience regarding what he was doing:  managing to season the pot while adding dumplings made out of scratch (!),  and watching the buns in the oven.  I asked where he learned all of that and he said that the soup is his German grandmother recipe, and the buns from 4 years of working in bakery...

I have to say that I was truly inspired with everybody's politeness and good manners of  Nickelsville people: after an hour of fighting over the stove burner (Mike was there earlier and kept his access to the front burner), taking the chopped veggies across the kitchen to the pot, while many people traveled through the kitchen to who knows where, I grew a bit testy not used to such conditions. In the same time everybody around me was just serene and helpful to each other:  Mike was having trouble with turning the buns in somewhat malfunctioning oven: on the spot TWO people materialized to help him with that hot task, and after they closed the oven with now saved buns  they went away on their way; I was looking at the garlic bulb wondering how to proceed when Jeremy showed up with a garlic presser and peeled the cloves before disappearing.  Amazing harmony of the place.

Cody Bebe and the Crooks
Richard told me they a music band visiting them the day before at 5:00 PM: seven musicians performing  on guitars, drums and tambourins - a very welcome event that cheered the residents, who gathered in the garage to watch them playing selections of different music and different traditions:  jazz, blues and holidays.  Richard told me it was a really great event and also told me the name of the band -  I had meant to write it down, but forgot before leaving- will amend on the next visit, hopefully.  Thank you musicians!

12/24:  The musicians were Cody Bebe and the Crooks.  Click and enjoy!

Next time I'll take my camera and photograph Nickelsville's  numerous adorable pets for your holiday viewing pleasure.  Stay put till then,  and please read the previous post regarding what is needed in Nickelsville NOW.


  1. Aleks, most of the times (actually I think, all the time) when you go to cook there, you are helped by the Nickelsville's men. I am just curious: how about women? Do they do less cooking? Or are they involved in some other work? Are there less women there (any percentage?)? Thanks.

  2. good question, sister of hannah, with no scientific answer. women did help in the past, but they are in big minority in nickelsville, which probably partially contributes to why mostly men help. also, the way i 'recruit' my assistants: i usually ask people who hang around in the common spaces - which is again mostly men, not sure why is that, but women tend not to socialize that way in nickelsville. even more curious, when i ask the resident food manager to help me find an assistant, he/she usually comes up with a man, too. it would be interesting to figure out more on the topic, and i'll certainly will give it a thought, thank you.

    i actually have no statistics for nickelsvile, but your question made me realize i should ask some basic questions next time i'm there: how many people, including men and women are there on average, how many come each day/week asking to sign in, how many are accepted/rejected and why. that should be interesting for many readers, so thank you.