Sometimes we dine on words. Powerful words that evoke new realms of thought and imagery to dance in our heads. But first, before you begin, one must wet his or her whistle.
Our hostess, Erin Weir understands this…she invited 12 or so co-workers & friends over for a dinner of international political discussions injected with finger foods, chili and lots and lots of wine. Everyone who attended was either from other countries or were from other countries who worked in other countries but were based here in D.C.
I sat next to Camilla Olson, a Swedish girl who works for a non-profit.
“It’s the people themselves. I hear their stories . . . I travel for 3 or 4 weeks at a time in the Congo or Afghanistan and look at issues relating to refugees. I’m more interested in the cultural side of things. You have two people at a time, traveling together from the organization, in a simple car without flags or guns so it’s easier to fly under the radar and really find the stories.” – Camilla Olson
Tamara, a friend of everyone’s from Ghana, who came to the United States vis-à-vis Yugoslavia – is now working as the Presidential Management Fellow for The Office of Secretary of Defense (Bob Gates). Bob Gates is one of the only people held over from the Bush Administration by President Obama.
Tamara will work on different issues in 3 month shifts to better learn all about the entire defense ministry. “My departments tagline, if you will is: Grooming Future Defense Leaders.“ – Tamara
Not everything was so serious, though. Sitting next to Tamara were three people who worked on Capitol Hill and were giggling about some senator’s cologne.
Melanie, of England, who travels throughout Sudan but lives here in the U.S. told me all about the Sudanese culture and food. She explained the vast differences between Nothern Sudan (think: french press coffee, goat or lamb falafels & kebabs) and Southern Sudan (think: fried dough, fufu, kasava) diets.
“Everyone here in D.C. is here for a reason. Everyone has a purpose, goals, out-comes they hope to achieve. It’s refreshing to meet all sorts of people working on all sorts of projects and intiatives.” -Erin Weir
The Cheese Line-Up:
-Genuine Fulvi Pecorino Romano (from the countryside of Rome)
-Morbier Les Trois Comtois
-Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog
The Appetizer Line-Up:
-Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries
-Cashews and Candied Almonds
-Cupcakes and Mini-Cakes
“Thats my favorite cheese! Humboldt Fog is a staple in my fridge.” – Vanessa Parra (Refugee International worker by day and romance screenplay writer by night. )
“Whats that line down the middle? Where’s it from?” – Patrick (Refugee International worker by day and cupcake stalker by night)
Erin’s Fast’n’Easy Chili
This chili is medium-spicy, really thick and would be delicious in a toasted breadbowl with shredded cheddar and creme fraiche or sour cream.
3 Cans Black Beans
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 Can Stewed, Chopped Tomatoes
2 Cups onion, finely chopped
2 Cups Red Pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 TBLSP Chili Pepper
1 1/2 TSP Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Oregano
1/2 Cup EVOO
3 Cups Grated Cheddar
Heat EVOO in saucepan and add chopped vegetables. Soften, about 6-7 minutes on medium heat. Toss in the contents of all the cans and simmer for 30 minutes. Add spices and cheese and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Enjoy!
“It’s simple and thats why it works!!” -Erin Weir
To learn more about the programming and initiatives of Hostess Erin’s beloved International NGO, click HERE.
thanks for the amazing party and getting to meet you three. was so much fun.
Sounds like a good time. That’s what I like about working in academia – parties with people from remarkably different geographical backgrounds.