We had the YAMEN participants over for Christmas day dinner. We have two volunteers from Kenya and one from Indonesia. I had planned to roast duck (my first) for dinner…but it did not go so well.
As I roasted two ducks for dinner one of them began to emit a putrid stench. This became worse the longer the duck roasted. I don’t know why the smell wasn’t evident before roasting but it was clear two hours in that the duck was a bad duck. Unfortunately, the raw ducks had been cleaned together and put in the same bag at the market. So I didn’t feel like I could serve the non-putrid duck due to cross contamination.
Crystal to the rescue. She looked at the food I was preparing. Braised Red Cabbage and Onions, Long Beans, her family’s traditional Pineapple Stuffing, and a small can of Cranberry sauce. Then she told me to run out and buy two kilograms of pork. She swiftly saved dinner by making a delicious pork dish.
We had a wonderful time with the YAMEN participants. After dinner, we sat around the fireplace (okay – just a fire on a screen) drinking warm milk (I had soy milk) with Christmas cookies and candy canes. The discussion was just wonderful. We talked about Cambodian, Kenyan, and Indonesian cultural/politics. For example… What are the indigenous fruit of Kenya? Is there really such a thing as Indonesian food? What do contemporary generational divides look like inCambodia/Kenya/Indonesia?
I think that I’ll try duck again… But I’ll get it very fresh. There’s a market in northern Phnom Penh where you can select poultry and they’ll butcher for you on the spot.