#145: Vanuatu

“And the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

When I think of Vanuatu, I immediately conjure images that this– THIS must be where Max ran away to when he went to live Where the Wild Things Are. That book was and still probably is one of my most favorite children’s books. But to be fair, I have a different spin on it as an adult. Let me lay it on you: as a child I loved the illustrations and as an adult I love the plot. This kiddo has everything and yet he feels so put upon. He runs away to an island where there are all manner of monsters and beasts and they make him king and truly adore him and yet, he realizes he wants to be back with those he loved most because they loved him best. It’s like adulthood, guys. Every. Damn. Day. We wish for what’s on the other side of “this project at work” or “this relationship hurdle” or “this financial hiccup” all the while missing those milestones for what they are: LIFE. It’s the journey. And when we finally get to the destination, we realize we missed all the fun stuff. The fun stuff sometimes looks like struggle.

Mehhh, it’s a food blog… so call that some “food for thought”.

THE DINNER: Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific… and if I’m being totally honest, it’s hard to not break out in to show tunes when I say that. Real hard. The food on an island is typically going to consist of two staples: veg and seafood. This doesn’t deviate from that game plan. The country does have so much in common with Filipino food it’s ridiculous, but makes sense geographically.

We decided to make Ginataang Tahong which is a South Pacific recipe for mussels steeped in coconut milk. Since mussels are cheap in coastal areas, this dish is a weeknight staple for the islands in the area.

Ginataang Tahong Recipe: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2013/03/01/ginataang-tahong-recipe/

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Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
Super easy, guys. There are a handful of readily available ingredients and it took no more than 20 min from start to finish. The one “tricky” thing is inspecting the mussels for cracks or being open prior to cooking, but that’s not even that hard. It’s quick and dirty, but not messy 😉

Best dish of all time scale: FIVEEEE STARS out of five for Meal!!
We all sort of wanted to give this one six stars. In the words of Rob Lowe in one of my favorite 80’s movies: It was outta hand. The coconut milk and the onions were just the best part. I loved the spinach. It literally didn’t want for any substitutes or additions. We always gauge a 5 star by whether we would want to add anything or change or modify anything to make it better and we just couldn’t find a damn thing. We literally didn’t add salt or sriracha. We ate it all. We gobbled and slurped and it was perfect. We can’t wait to make it again… and I might have dreamed about it’s creamy goodness.

Up next for Around the World in 195 Sundays?? We will be headed for #146 by way of Timor-Leste! Yes, that’s a country. No, I’m not 100% sure of where it is yet; but that is part of the fun of this project. I learn something new every week. 

Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!
– L & K

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