Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eating Local Foods

The last Sunday of every month is Potluck Sunday at Guam United Methodist Church. We really enjoy this because we get an opportunity to taste things we might not take a chance on and order in a restaurant or buy in a store. We also get to eat fruits and vegetables that are really different from what we might see in our local grocery store.

Today I got to taste a salad made with bitter melon, tiny peppers, and chopped shrimp. The bitter melon was simply too bitter for me. For the same reason, I cannot eat Brussel sprouts, even though I know they are very good for me (and despite going all gourmet on them). Pat told me bitter melon is good for lowering blood pressure. I told her my blood pressure would be elevated if I had to eat them.

I also tried a Chamorro casserole of taro leaves, coconut milk, spicy peppers, and mushrooms. The dish looked like cooked spinach. This was bitter too, but not unbearably so. I still wouldn't heap mounds of the stuff on my plate, but I could definitely eat it and be polite. Taro leaves are more typically noted for use in Hawaiian recipes, but they grow throughout the tropics.

Normally, someone makes Arroz Caldo, a Filippino chicken soup, redolent with ginger. Today we had a chicken broth with Chinese dumplings which was also very tasty.

I brought Rice Krispie treats and a bag of ripe bananas from our banana tree. Only half of the pan was eaten and I left the bananas there for others to take home. Pat promised me some lemongrass and I am looking forward to cooking some dishes with it. The mango season has been very good this year with optimal weather conditions. That means our freezer is full of sliced mango! It's also full of frozen bananas. We just ate the avocados and shared them friends until they were gone. I never thought I would tire of guacamole, but it's possible!

The fruits and vegetables selection may be limited but it's definitely a bounty to be shared with friends and family here on Guam.