I now live in a country that speaks very little English.  I do not learn languages well, so I just learn the necessities:  cerveja, toalete and obrigado.  (beer, toilet and thank you).  Thus, it is unlikely I will go to a restaurant by myself and order a medium Kansas City strip with a fully loaded baked potato and a salad with ranch dressing.

So, I decided to start learning how to cook for myself.  The best thing to start with is beans.  Now I come from a family of nine kids and as my brother states, our mother only cooked for eight.  (our little sister is very thin).  So, the meals were not gourmet, nor should they have been.  It was quantity, not quality.  Beans where a staple that we grew up thinking they were what they were.  Not like the beans I’ve had in the years that followed.  So I looked on the Internet to see how to cook them.  Wash, soak and cook for 60-90 minutes.  You know, that sounds quite easy.

I like black beans and I like some brown beans.  So I went to the local market and picked up a bag of black beans and a bag of beans that appeared kinda white but should turn brown when they are cooked.  I took a cup of each and washed them and mixed them together in a bowl, covered them with plenty of water and placed in the refrigerator before leaving for work.

When I came home, the beans, both black and kinda white were a dark purple color.  Now I would think that this was something that would have been taught by the nuns in the parochial school, that black beans have ink in them, but I don’t have any recollection of anything to do with beans except planting them for a science project.

I went ahead and placed them in a pan with plenty of water and turned on the heat.  I then took 4 cloves of garlic, a half onion and a potato and chopped them into small pieces and added them to the now boiling purple beans.  I also added a secret ingredient that I will not divulge here should I ever enter these beans in a bean contest, but I can tell you it rhymes with baking, but without the “g”.

While they cooked, I made some cornbread which had a sweet taste like that of coconut because I could not read the package that was written in the local language.  Somewhere on the package it must say, This is sweet cornbread – Do not cook unless you want sweet cornbread.

After 75 minutes I decided the purple beans were done, so I sat down with the beans, sweet cornbread and a glass of chilled rose’ wine.  What a meal to remember!

I am babysitting a cat for a friend of mine, and when I offered her a taste of the meal, she quickly backed away.  I think it is because of the garlic.  We all know cats are a subspecies of vampires.

This cat is a female that has been named, Tiger.  She is extremely affectionate to the point she will nuzzle me any chance she has.  Her owner told me that they cannot sleep with her in the room, because she will continually nuzzle during the night, with her wet nose on the face.

So, I decided to break her of that.  The first night was a challenge where after an hour, I ended up sleeping with my head under the covers.  The second night, I decided to teach her the word No.  So, every time she crawled over to my face and started rubbing her wet nose on my face, I pushed her away and told her, NO!  It took several times for her to understand I did not want her at my face.  Six times to be exact.  This took place several times throughout the night, and at one point, I counted eight attempts from her before giving up.  But I was adamant to teach her the word No.

As it is now, I can stately say No as she gets near my face, and she will stop and lay down where she is.  Sometimes she will go to sleep and sometimes she will wait a few minutes then move to molest me again.

I am convinced that I will eventually teach her the word No to a point she will fully understand.  Afterwards, we will work on other words, like Fetch me a Beer.  With a little luck, by the time her owners return in late January, I will have her reading Tolstoy.

As for the beans, I will eat the remaining next week and try adding different ingredients for the next batch.  Perhaps some spicy stuff like pepper sauce.  If I leave out the garlic, the cat should be willing to try it. I will let you know how it goes.