Today’s prompt reads:
We tend to use the words ‘melting pot’ when we think of culturally diverse places, but what if it’s more of a salad bowl? Less of the ‘becoming the same’, more ‘complementing each other’s flavour’. Our flavours are there to be celebrated. Let’s mix it up.
I’ve got 5 minutes: What’s the mix where you live? Think about the ethnicity you mix with most, outside of your own. You might have a large Bangladeshi community in your neighbourhood, or a big Spanish group in your church. Could you use the internet to learn a few quick greeting words in that language today? Start with ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ – sure winners in any conversation!
I’ve got 15 minutes: Seek out someone – a neighbour, a parent at the school gates, your local shop-keeper – whose ethnicity/culture/religion is different from yours. Make a point of building bridges with them today.
I’ve got a few hours: Plan a cultural celebration in your community. Team up with other 40acts challengers, your church or local community group, and host a party. Get everyone to cook a national dish, and share food and friendship together.
St Just is not the most ethnically diverse place I’ve ever been to – in fact, we British are the ethnic minority here! Roanne, the nearest big town, has a higher Muslim community, but I don’t know where the majority of the people are originally from…I think to seek out any of these people would be contrived and fairly pointless: I don’t live in Roanne, they are not part of “my” community.
I smile at the last “action” though – tomorrow I, and several members of the English speaking church I go to, will be attending a Pot Luck Supper organised by the AVF (Accueil des ville francais) in Clermont Ferrand. This group offers English classes but, living in a non-English speaking country, their students don’t get to practice much. They have invited us along to speak English with them. This dinner gives the people from the church an opportunity to contribute to the larger Clermont Community and perhaps make some new friends. So I’ll be cooking my regional dish to take along – Scouse.
For those of you who have no idea what scouse is, here is a brief history:
Scouse was brought to Liverpool by Northern European sailors, and was originally called “Labskause” (the Norwegian word for “stew”). This was eventually shortened to Skause, and over time the spelling changed to the more anglicised version we have today: scouse.
The people who ate Scouse were all generally sailors and their families and eventually all sailors within Liverpool were referred to as Scousers. Time has now taken its turn and everyone from the region of Liverpool is known as a Scouser.
Scouse holds a place in the heart of most Liverpudlian’s as the taste of their hometown and is still regulary eaten today by a great number of families.
There are records showing that it was also served to the inmates of the Birkenhead workshouse way back in 1864. The recipe was much simpler then than today’s refined version but was predominatly the same staple ingredients – meat, vegatables and potatoes.
Here is the recipe:
Serves 4-6 people
Half a Pound of Stewing Steak
Half a Pound of Lambs Breast
A Large Onion
1lb of Carrots
5lb of Potatoes
2 Oxo Cubes
2 Teaspoons of Vegatable Oil
Salt and Pepper
HOW TO COOK (Takes 4 hours of slow cooking)
Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the vegatable oil until lightly browned all over. You may wish to add some Worcester Sauce at this point for added flavour.
Transfer the meat to a large saucepan and add the onion that should have been chopped into large chunks. Follow this by chopping the carrot into medallions and place this on the meat. Peel and then Finely dice 1lb of the potatoes and place on top of the carrots.
Fill the pan with cold water until it is half full. Break up the Oxo cubes and sprinkle into the water. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Let the pan simmer gently, stirring occasionally. The large pieces of onion will start to break up and the potato will become soft and will make the final sauce thick.
Simmer for a total of two hours, then add the remaining potatoes that should have been peeled and roughly chopped, along with a few splashes of Worcester Sauce. Then simmer for another two hours.
Serve piping hot with red cabbage, beetroot, pickled onions and crusty bread. You may add Ketchup and HP for flavouring.
What the Clermontoise (or even the Americans!) will make of scouse remains to be seen, but it’s something that actually I have never cooked, despite being a proud Scouser (without the accent!)
Today’s actions don’t really resonate with me – but that’s okay. I will remain open to God’s promptings while I’m out and about today, and I will take some of my Ninja Notes with me to Lidl and Carrefour to spread a little positivity around! And I’ll enjoy introducing scouse to the inhabitants of Clermont Ferrand tomorrow!