Category Archives: Portugal

Healthy Foods and Couscous


My youngest daughter would prefer for us to go back to living in the

woods and eating only fresh from the vine, stem or tree. I was happy

to have her cooking a meal with Mediterranean Couscous and also,

fresh green beans. Yesterday she came by after she taught Pilates

and we sat down to eat a meal with a glass of wine, too

Today, while in the upper level of Advance Auto distribution center

picking products I ran into Melvin. I was following or chasing  him

around one of with both of our carts filled to the brim with auto

parts. I “hate” the ladder and how we go up and down to get from

the very top 6th shelf truly heavy products. I prefer “my” areas of

the front flow racks with what they call “pick to lights.”

I mentioned my leftovers for lunch to Melvin since I said, “Hey,

I ate healthy again last night!” He mentioned he had brought

me some more zucchini. I told him, “Thank you so very much,

Melvin! I love frying thin slices up with butter and onions when

my daughter isn’t around to make me use Smart Balance.”

Then he asked how my daughter made our couscous. I told him

that it involves a package that has “Near East” and “Mediterranean”

in the title. While we stood for a moment of silence contemplating

that oxymoron, because isn’t it true those are two different places?

Anyway, Melvin told me a totally surprising and wonderful fact about


We always talk about Boston, Massachusetts where his best Army

friends live, and I mention Rockport back to him. We can go on and

on about the subject of fresh lobster, clams and shrimp. But, other

than knowing about his seriously ill girlfriend last year who is definitely

“on the mend” this year and another fact; that he served for many

years in the Army and was a cook on an aircraft carrier, I did not

know this mindblowing fact!

Melvin told me that his mother used to make cous cous for his

breakfast taking a corn like mush and smashing it with a wooden

mallet (or mortar and pestle type situation), only the bowl was

made of clay. Then, she would add a combination of milk or cream

along with sugar. He said he had never tried cous cous like I was

describing. Since he eats at my lunch period, I said, “I will bring you

a bite to see how you like it.”

Of course, while we were in the “mezzanine” chatting and slowing

our carts down, up comes our boss’ boss and he gives us a serious

frown! We end the discussion or “table it,” so to speak, until lunch.

Melvin and his guy friends all sit facing the programmed sports

channel big screen television, while my table of five has one guy

and four women. We “lost” my surrogate son, “Chad,” and still have

not seen nor heard “hide nor hair” of him.  Our group faces a different

direction, watching “The New Price is Right” with Drew Carey!

When I was up at the microwave, I took a paper plate and put a scoop

of the cous cous and put a few chunks of fresh tomato and poured a

little tomato sauce over it. I put a little salt and pepper on my bigger

portion and a little sprinkle on Melvin’s “taste” plate. I heated both

plates up and went over to the guys’ table. Melvin took his paper plate

and I asked him, while he was blowing on it,

“When you were telling me about your mother, I was wondering,

would you mind my asking where you grew up?”

And this is an aside, this lovely and outgoing black friend of mine uses

very excellent Boston-accented English. Never would I have dreamed

he was born somewhere else and raised far away, too.

Melvin said, “I was born and raised on Cape Verdan Island, off of

Portugal. Both my parents were born there, too. I decided to join

the Army after I graduated from high school and that brought me

to boot camp in  the South of the U.S. From there, it took me to

Hawaii and on to Japan. When we have talked, you have always

seemed interested in my trips to Rickenbacker base to get some

food and household goods.”

I want you to know that I need to hear more about this but am

going over to join my friends for lunch. Thanks so much for the

zucchini in the fridge and hope your girlfriend is feeling better.

Tell her ‘Robin says hi and keeps her in my prayers.'”