Yesterday I told you how I made Fry bake for everyone. Well, the next day, as planned and at Calypso's request, I cooked the community meal for all the interns and staff (15 people). The menu request was curried venison stew and roti, with sides of rice and peas & carrots. I could have managed everything myself except the roti. To get that much done requires two people just to keep the rhythm of rolling and frying. My assistant was this fine young man. He joined me early and asked how he could begin helping so as I was forming dough balls for the roti I asked him to cut up the venison. He began immediately.
Shortly thereafter someone came in and expressed shock that he was handling raw meat due to his veganism. I felt kind of bad but he said he really didn't mind at all. I decided I needed to add some sort of vegan dish to the meal so he wasn't eating just rice, roti, and peas & carrots. It wouldn't be right for him to help me all afternoon and then not get a decent meal. I thought I'd make curried potatoes and chickpeas so he went of in search of spuds and beans. No luck on spuds anywhere on camp property and given that they are over 30 miles from a decent store it wasn't going to happen. We scoured cupboards for other ingredients and I wound up improvising a curried bean and tomato dish with what was on hand. It turned out decently.
We had some really excellent conversation as we got the meal together. I found him to be a very humble, intelligent, thinking young man with a great sense of humor and service. All that was a delight but as we talked he shared some of the details of his life as a foster child and how he found family after he had given up at the age of 20 (Out of respect for his privacy it's not my place to share but really, it's a story that would make the hardest heart tear up first in sadness then in happiness at the new beginning. I thanked him for his openness and trust.). He shared about the joys of finally finding the family he never had and the struggles of learning how to be a part of it and his perspectives on his peers who seem in such a hurry to leave the security of family. I was deeply impressed by him.