Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On celebration: a healthy, cancer-free baby, oven art and pizza

About a year ago baby Johanna was having her diaper changed when her parent felt a hard lump in her belly.The doctors soon found that both of her kidneys had tumors in them and one was the size of a grapefruit This led to days and months of tests and CAT scans and xrays and chemotherapies and operations.

Just over a month ago she had her last operation when the surgeons removed the last 3 tiny tumors. She still has quite adequate kidney function in both kidneys and scans show no signs of  tumors. She is cancer-free. So her family decided it was time for a party to celebrate.
 Strong and healthy Johanna
The party was held last Sunday afternoon and they invited around 90 people which included everyone who attends Hope Mennonite Church as well as relatives and other friends. The weather forecast threatened rain so a big tent was set up in the front yard. This was because a big part of the celebration was pizza made in the wonderful woodburning mobile oven made by Karen Schlichting. A couple of years ago she received a grant to go towards the creation of the wonderful, very useful, very beautiful art piece. An article about it is here.
Karen has done some very interesting actions with her oven. She has attached it to her van and pulled it to the parking lot of a big huge grocery store called Costco. This store is a place where families come to buy huge grocery carts full of food. Most of this food is imported from other parts of the world. In the parking lot she  baked homemade bread and gave free pieces away to customers who  came to shop there. Her message was that good bread made with wheat that is grown locally and created by hand is the way food should be made.  An article about that action is here

The fire is built in the oven 3 hours before it is needed to cook the pizza or the bread. 
This is the beautiful artwork on the outside of the oven. It is made with tiny squares of glass all glued into the shape of the picture. 
 Many people rode their bikes to the party.

 This was the pizza making station.
 Jeff Thiessen who is a member of my CPT support community helped with the baking. My husband Vic is waiting for the pizza to be cooked.
 The oven is ready to bake the pizza.
 Then Karen cut the pizza into squares and served it to the guests. The man in the glasses is Jason, Johanna's father.
 A young guest watches Karen take out another pizza.
 He puts his hand onto the outside of the oven to check to see how hot it is. The oven is so well insulated that you can not tell that a fire has heated the bricks on the inside.
 Another mosaic- a picture of Gretel who the oven is named after.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

4th Kurdish Supper- "The Things We Do For Love"

Friday, 6 September was my 4th annual Kurdish supper  fundraiser  for CPT. The amount raised is around $1,600 however more will be coming in from people who were not able to attend the meal, but who still want to donate to CPT.

As I worked all day yesterday to get the meal ready, I had that 1970's song by 10cc running through my head. The lyrics don't make sense in this situation, but the title,  'oohhh, the things you do for love", does. The things I do for the crazy, wonderful organisation that I work for!!!

 Amazingly enough this year  I did mostly all the cooking by myself, starting on Tuesday when I made the bread and the desert. I think that I have learned some lessons in previous years, but (as I found out) I still don't have the quantity idea down. I again made far too much food for the 38 people who came.

The wonderful new mural painted on the wall of the Halal Meat Store which also carries many things you need to make a Kurdish meal

I made 16 large rounds of bread.
And 3 pans of baklava (paqlewe)- walnut and almond
The menu was:

YAPRAX;  Grapeleaf dolma and other stuffed vegetables
KAYSI; apricot sauce
TAPSI: eggplant, tomatoe,pepper sauce for rice
BRINJ: rice
SELATE: mixed vegetable salad
NAN: Kurdish bread
PAQLEWE: sweet desert pastry
MAST OW: slightly salty yogurt drink
CHAI: sweet tea

I finally figured out that I could make the dolma (yaprax) on the day before. Whew, that was a relief to get that labour intense job finished.
 My guests in the lineup to get their food.

Brad Langendoen  says, " I can't believe you made all this food".
The atmostphere in my backyard was fantastic with everybody having good conversation and enjoying the food and Kurdish music AND the storm clouds that threatened all went away leaving a wonderful warm evening.

Finally I was able to grab a few minutes to eat, although after cooking all day I was not very hungry.
 Here is a few photos of the kids who came.

 More conversations

And then I was able to enjoy a piece of walnut baklava as the sun went down.