Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making Hamburger in the Dark

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to cook.  I can cook, but I don’t enjoy it.  If I never had to cook again, there would be no void in my life.  I do like to provide healthy food for my family, so I do make effort to avoid processed stuff, but I am a far cry from Mrs. Cleaver and making everything from scratch. In Ghana, you don’t really have a choice but to cook from scratch.  In fact, usually you’ve even got to take it a step further than that, often making each ingredient from scratch!!  

We enjoy Ghanaian food.  And we are learning to cook several Ghanaian dishes.  However, we still like to have foods that are familiar to us, even if it means a lot of extra work. (Humans and food, it’s a strange thing.  We all like and gravitate to what is familiar.  It makes us feel good, safe, and connected to home.)  And what’s more familiar than a good ol’ hamburger and French fries. 

We found the beef (see previous post), but now we’ve got to ground it into hamburger.  So, off to Wal Mart……I mean Melcom’s we go.  We purchase the last meat grinder they have--the display model.  I am glad because once something is gone who knows when, if ever, they will get it again.  (Can openers have been “finished” for over a month!)

We get home with our new purchase and prepare the meat.  This process takes a while, as all our knives seem to be dull.  Finally, we are ready.  Everyone is gathered around.  The big moment is approaching.  We put the meat in and start to turn the handle.  We see the very beginnings of our ground meat coming out the other end.  Hamburger hope is alive!!  ...and then the handle breaks. 

Apparently, the screw (the most important part of the machine) they included was too small.  The handle, which turns the ‘thingy’ inside that pushes the meat through the blade, keeps slipping.  This is an obvious frustration.

We try all sorts of remedies: holding it in place, using toothpicks to make the screw fit better, searching for other screws around the house that might fit.  You name it, we tried it.  In the midst of our attempt to fix what shouldn’t be broken, the power goes out.  So there we are, meat strewn all over, half of it stuck in the grinder, and we can’t see a thing.

After we fumble around for our flashlights, the quest to conquer the meat continues, but to no avail.  So, we give up and try to get the meat out.  No such luck.  It is stuck and stuck good.  We stick the whole mess in the freezer, and decide to wait until tomorrow when we can see.

The next day, Jody manages to get the stuck meat out.  He is determined to make this grinder work.  His solution:  weld the darn handle on; it won’t be able to slip then!  He was right.  It makes taking the machine apart a little more difficult, but it works, and we’ve got hamburgers.

Dinner was an All-American treat: fries, burgers, sodas.  The only thing missing was the pickles...akd the power, which went out again just as we sat down to eat.

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