Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Testament meat: Bringing home the bacon

I thought you might get a kick out of this.

I don't know if I told you about what I ate all last week. I described it this way to one of my doctors who is trying to help me with my rheumatoid arthritis: It was "some of the most boring/low-quality food I have ever had the misfortune to eat. (Happily, it wasn't spoiled or laden with microbes. I never suffered intestinal distress. BUT . . .) In order to avoid my food sensitivities, I found I was eating white rice and overcooked Chinese vegetables plus gristly chicken, beef, or fried fish--always and only cooked in brown sauce--three meals a day for over a week."

[The reason this came up in discussion with my doctor is because--as Jonelle suggested when I got home, the brown sauce must have included wheat, so . . .) by the end of the week, I was in great pain, with inflamed joints in my hands, feet, and even in places I had not suffered arthritic pain before--my wrists and elbows. . . . By the time I arrived home on Sunday, I could barely walk. --I have never been that bad before. I felt like an old man.)

Anyway. While I ate this food three meals a day, everyone else only had to eat it two meals a day. Breakfast, besides the rice and meat and brown sauce, also offered--for everyone who could eat it--all the standard breakfast foods Americans usually enjoy: cereals, eggs, bacon, pancakes, and so forth.

The first day, however, Sarita's and my eyes popped as we saw a number of children come to their tables bearing plates piled high with bacon . . . and, often, only bacon.

"Mom! Mom!" cried one. "Look!"

She was so excited to be able to eat bacon.

And it was at that point that our companion said, "Yes. Where we are (in the Muslim world), we cannot buy pork of any kind. So when one of our teammates leaves the M world and comes back, they always bring a huge hunk of bacon. And we always share it all around the expat community.

"They call us all as soon as they arrive: 'New Testament meat!' And then we all put all other events on hold so we can descend on the home of the recently returned friend who has the meat to share.

"What a joy!"
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