Thursday, June 15, 2017

Corn Tortillas, Wilder Penfield and Changi Prison

I am determined to learn new things, especially if they save me money. 

I tried, today, to make my own tortillas out of corn flour to satisfy the gluten-intolerant in my midst and to avoid paying those ridiculous prices at the health food store.

I bought a huge bag of corn flour from the Chinese grocer for one quarter the price of what's in the health food store.

But, as I had anticipated, making tortillas  isn't as easy as one may think. Indeed, some people use a tortilla maker.

My fish tacos tasted good, though, with my garden-grown coriander that appears to be going to seed. The tops are all feathery.

Even growing herbs isn't as easy as one thinks.

This weekend, for Father's Day, I am making a quinoa and black rice salad, with the black rice, or 'forbidden rice,' I also bought at the Chinese grocery.

I hope the salad is good. The bag of rice I bought is enormous.

This ordinarily isn't Father's Day fare. My husband, like most local men, would prefer a steak and fries.

But, hey.  

My son is a chef, so when he visits I try to do the cooking myself. Everyone needs a break. And, despite the fact I'm hit and miss with meals, my son is always quick with the compliments.

Smart boy.

On the subject of housework (sloppy transition here) I am also in the midst of researching a new book about Montreal in 1928, a follow up to the many other 'family story' books I've self-published on Amazon Kindle; 

I'm trolling the Montreal Gazette's for May and June 1928, when my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, was Director of City Services and caught in the middle of a power struggle between two factions at City Hall, one led by new Mayor Camillien Houde and the other led by City Councilman Leon Trepanier. My grandfather was aligned with Trepanier.

My grandfather would be forced to resign in 1930 by the illustrious Mayor Houde. Trepanier and six other councilmen would try to keep him on board.

The debate at City Hall in 1930 would get very rowdy. Houde's false teeth would spurt out while he spoke.

(I have written all about it on this blog.)

Today, I fell upon  two unconnected articles from the 1928 Montreal Gazette that piqued my interest. 

The following one that is self-expanatory.

And, then,  this one about European women in Colonial Malaya. It's of personal interest to me.

The woman who gave the above talk in 1928 to Montrealers claimed in her speech that European women in Malaya 'lead unnatural lives," because their kids are sent away to school. 

She also said it was too hot to work in Malaya, but that was OK, because there were plenty of Chinese around wanting to work as servants.

 She said playing golf and tennis is about the only thing for a woman to do, outside of socializing.

My grandmother, Dorothy Forster Nixon,  who I wrote about in Looking for Mrs. Peel, was living in Selangor, Malaya in 1928. 

 My father, Peter, and his sister, Denise, six and five years old, respectively, had been sent alway to England  two years before to go to school as was, indeed, the custom.

The siblings stayed with relations during the holidays, aunts and uncles who did not want them around.  Very sad it was for them.

In her 1928 lecture, this British woman, like many commentators, makes it sound as if  women like her in Malaya led a very lazy life. This was an oft-repeated perception. In my e-book, I  explain why they had no choice.

My grandmother, the daughter of socialist Methodists from Northumberland,  who attended a Quaker School, was born to a life of service.

 She took on the job of Secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Book Club in the 1930's and, later, during the War, she was interned at Changi by the Japanese. She became Women's Camp leader for a stint and then was tortured in the infamous Double Tenth Incident.