Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guest blogger Christine Gerber-Rutt chops up the pages on Mrs Crocodile...

Here is a guest blogger on Mrs Crocodile for your reading pleasure: Christine Gerber-Rutt. American and Swiss, she now lives in Qatar.  I love how she chose to write about this chopped up Middle Eastern dish.  Enjoy!

Given the choice between being in a kitchen or being, well, anywhere else, I’d choose the kitchen. All the important stuff happens in the kitchen: birthday cakes are baked, wine bottles opened, kisses stolen from the cook. That’s why I like being the cook. Most days.

Then we moved to the Middle East. All the cheesy food I’d learned to make in Switzerland is totally not happening here. Eating melted cheese in the desert is like eating mega-sized Slushies in Iceland. It happens, but wouldn’t you rather eat tabbouleh?

Tabbouleh, even that isn’t what I always thought it was. I’ve tried making tabbouleh in the States and even in Switzerland, which seemed totally out of place since it lacks any dairy products whatsoever, but give me a pat on the back, I tried anyway. Turns out the main ingredient is parsley. In my mind parsley will always be plate decoration. I’m certain that any scientific study would unequivocally support the fact that in the States parsley is most often used to encourage burger and fry eaters to feel better about their choices. I don’t like parsley; don’t like burger and fries for that matter, unless the fries have that slightly dry, slightly smoked taste with almost no salt and a side of catsup, only Heinz will do. What can I say, I’m a catsup snob.

When I made tabbouleh, I searched out recipes that had more bulgar than parsley. While bulgar isn’t on my top ten list of favorite foods, it does have a demeanor of health and is hands down better than parsley. Hop back to the Middle East and here you have it, tubs of tabbouleh. And it’s green. Why? Because it’s made the way the Lebanese intended it to be - with loads and loads of parsley and just a touch of mint. Even the local (French) grocery store gets it right. Turns out if you get it right, parsley has a pleasing crunch to it with a little bit of grind. Addicting. And there’s no need for me to cook it up in my kitchen. That’s okay I’m content to stand there opening plastic containers filled with store-bought tabbouleh and receive stolen kisses.

Even if you don’t like tabbouleh or parsley or bulghar, check out the dance video by GoRemy.  Taste that parsley and shake your bum bum. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FaNzrtu0KM

Step right up; cut it up and mix it up.
Chief Cook
http://JustKooki.Blogspot.com

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Cutting up the Day...

Last time I said that quilts were made when big events happened in life.  I forgot to add an important bit of that post..I'll tell you what it was, but before I do I should tell you that I really wanted to tell you a week ago and it annoyed me to no end that for several days, I was out of range of a computer, in a tent, in the mountains, the phone battery even died--and I couldn't tell you!  No, really.  Being so remote was great.  Being really "cut off" and finding myself walking in the postcard beauty of the King's Canyon National Park.  I broke down.  I needed to call home.  I used a pay phone!  I know it sounds crazy but some kids walked by, they pointed at me and I heard them say as I battled with the door to close and searched for three numbers all at least 20 digits long: "Hey!  I've seen those, they are really rare, d'you think it works?"  I think they were teenagers at least because they were carrying coffee cups.  Amazingly, even in a place with no mobile access, they had coffee from a large American company which I'm sure you know the name of.

So my wonderful idea I've been carrying around in my very own head is this:  forget the whole sewing it back together stuff, just think, we can cut stuff up at any moment and it never has to be made into anything.  You can cut up an argument.  You can cut it up on the dance floor.  Or you can just cut peices out of the day and hang them on your wall, even if the wall is the inside of your eyeball.  So here's me cutting up my day, and the image I've wanted to give you for a week: a blue nylon swatch from the tent at Carpinteria State Beach, a tie-died cotton bit of a little girl's dress, a square foot of sail cloth from the boat my brother sailed,  a page ripped out of a journal with slanted backwards writing and so deeply imprinted it is almost embossed,  a bit of that cream colored neck brace of my mom's, a silver plastic spoon (I really like that they make plastic spoons that look silver), a pocket from the back of my jeans, a square of sweatshirt that says "shark" on it, a bit of wonderfully hard dry ground and a huge gulp of foggy sea air.  You can use your own imagination and emotion to sew it all up for me.   That was one of my days last week.  What's your day like?
yours, with scissors (which are the allowed length to be taken on an airplane)
Mrs Crocodile


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Wetsuit Quilt

It occurs to me that people start chopping up fabric to be sewn into quilts predominantly when a) you die, or b) you are born or even (heaven forbode!) c) you get married.  In the you die case, the quilt is stitched together out of your old cherished clothes and you live on in some sense.  In the second case, babies don't seem to mind that the fabric has been cut up, they have enough in their lives to be getting on with--such as the being born and meeting the parents issues--so whether the quilt is quilted or tied, made form great grandmas soft lacy nighties that she never wears--baby doesn't seem to mind.  In the you-get-married scenario, well, it's probably just a quilt of wills:  who has made the quilt to grace your marital bed?  Is it a mother?  Mother-in-law?  Sister?  Sister-in-law?  If my dad had made the quilt it would have been made of neoprene.  And there you have it:  that is the best quilt idea I've had: the wetsuit quilt.  I have cut up just about everything I could take scissors to, except of course items that were still of value to people I wanted to remain in contact with.  But what an idea!  I wonder if my brother has a few old wetsuits around I could start cutting up...
Love from the road,
Mrs Crocodile
P.S.  You could even sew the quilt together with duct-tape.

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