Tag Archive: food

The Other Paper Game


So there is the OTHER paper game… you know the one i mean? One of the best big group games, four rounds, Pictionary then One Word clues then Actionary then hiding-behind-the-couch-with-just-your-hands-over-the-top-giving-the-clues raucous LOLlified comedy?

Well THIS is the other one to that. And it’s not technically a game, but more of a How To Enhance A Mealtime or Hangout That Otherwise Might Have Been Somewhat Random or Less Significant. Continue reading

We all know what milk is, what a hot dog tastes like and that you never dip fish fingers into custard. [Well unless you’re THAT guy!]

But what if you were a creature from another planet and had just arrived on earth. Would it seem weird that people were drinking the stuff that came out of the dangly bits of a cow? Continue reading


i love movies. But the other day i was sitting at the table with a group of guys and we spoke about movies for an hour and a half. It was an event so i felt kinda trapped in the seat i was in at the restaurant. And my head wanted to explode, because as much as i love movies, speaking about them for an hour and a half [in which everyone was pretty much regurgitating their opinions and holding on to them so not even change or wrestling or deep thought happening about movies which may have been a little bit better] in a row at that particular point in time felt a bit wasteful to me.

Because we all left that moment with pretty much the same amount of knowledge or belief we had started with and no evident change of opinion.

And i feel like to a large extent, when you put a group of people together who don’t know each other that well [and often when they do] they conversation will typically go to movies, sport or food and perhaps combinations of the three.


Which is largely why i have enjoyed the Deep Dive Conversation Dinners so much. By now you probably know the vibe – invite 7 to 10 other people around for a meal around a specific theme or topic [So far we have done church, race from the perspective of ‘why do you live where you live?’ and more recently money] and spend a good four and a half hours really diving deeply into it.

One of my favourite parts is the phone basket we have at the door where everyone switches their phone off and sets it aside for the evening so that we can all be completely in the moment.

Another favourite is the food which we view as ‘the breaking of bread’ which of course has special spiritual significance as well. One of the ideas behind these dinners has been taking arguments off of Social Media and getting people face to face around a meal to see if that argument can’t be transformed into a discussion where people may still leave with different points of view, but where they will have hopefully at least have listened to each other and been open to hear someone else’s perspective on an issue and more importantly their story.

Then there is the conversation. tbV and i typically don’t start with an agenda [[in terms of where we want to end up] but we do have a plan of how to get the conversation going and it changes every time depending on the theme. With church and location we invited people by way of introduction [which took most of the evening as people got to ask questions and push back and raise concerns or ask follow up questions as stories were shared] to share a little part of their journey as far as the theme was concerned and with the money one we had some prompts such as ‘In my family money was a source of…’ and ‘The messages i received about money, success and happiness from my culture were…’


The next Deep Dive Conversation Dinner tbV and i are planning is around the question of Food. What we eat, how we eat, where we get our food from, the ethics and morality of food and more… we are hoping to do this sometime in August although it may have to happen in September as August has some weekend events coming up.

But next time around i am hoping that there might be four other dinners happening on the same night or around the same time. Not on the theme of Food particularly, but on whatever theme grabs you. The idea is to grab a topic of conversation that you would like to invite some friends and maybe even some people you don’t know as well [Hello Facebook friends] to gather around and really chew on for an evening.

i have had people in the Northern Suburbs, in Durban, and even Americaland express interest in running a dinner and i would love to help [if you in any way feel like you need it] provide some momentum and guidance for those to take place.

All i ask in return is some form of feedback to post on the blog [to share the story with others] – was it great? was it horrible? was it awkward? [it usually starts off that way a little and that’s okay] was it deeply transformative?

So IF that sounds like an experiment or a challenge that you would be up for [and let’s call it something that should happen in the next six weeks so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen the same time as ours] then leave your name in the comment section [for accountability] and drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can share some ideas as to how we invite people, what we do on the night and tbV and i will commit to helping you with format/starting inspiration if that is something that feels like it would be helpful.


[For some Deep Dive Dinner Conversation around Money, click here]

[For Deep Dive Dinner Conversation dealing with Race and specifically Location, click here]

Who is in? 

browniesi just put the cut-the-calories-in-half chocolate brownies in the fridge and i am burning with a passionate cause.

did i plan to make brownies today? not at all.

did i plan to make brownies two hours ago? still no.

i was browsing some or other thing on the internetwebs and i came upon a link claiming to make brownies that will cut the calories in half. so i thought that looks cool let me go and see. hey we have all or most of those ingredients, let’s do this.

and by ‘this’ i mean ‘this.’


mancookingNow this refers to the ladies as well [so please feel ‘understood’ in there and also to married people [don’t feel left out] but the main focus of this rant, post, scream is at dudes who are living alone or in digs [or still with your parents – nothing wrong with that, sometimes it’s just what circumstances call for] who exist on take out food or some form of spread on toast and use the ‘I can’t cook’ slogan as a crutch.

Yes, you can! Don’t make me go all Mark Driscoll on y’all. [i acknowledge that i just typed the “word” ‘y’all’ – i’m gonna claim poetic licence.

And i mean you can, don’t get me wrong. This is not a ‘THOU SHALT’ post by any means, but much more of a ‘YOU REALLY DON’T HAVE TO SETTLE FOR’ one and it goes a little something like this:


The stove is probably not even mandatory [at least one of those two plate mini vibes will be a good start though] but it helps.

So I start making the brownies and realise that I misread ‘vegetable oil spread’ as ‘vegetable oil’ – now we have vegetable oil, but no vegetable oil spread – what even is that? it sounds hideous and i’m scared to even ask. Oh no, panic time? Not at all – head onto the interwebnet and ask my good old sous chef, Uncle Goodle by typing in “vegetable oil spread” so i can have some idea of what it is, and then “Vegetable oil spread substitute” so i can know what else i can use in its place that will have the same effect. Turns out melted butter is an adequate substitute on most cases and so i strongly suspect i may have invited a couple of those calories back to the party, but problem solved and in no time the brownies are in the over. [“in no time” was a metaphor – it took time, no magic was conjured up in the making of these brownies and MAN, THERE IS AN AMAZING SMELL COMING OUT OF OUR KITCHEN!

female cooking and looking at laptop in kitchenIt is really that simple – if you have not cooked a lot in your life then start simply – do something with an egg – work your way up to french toast – make homemade flapjacks or pancakes and you will be experimenting with meat, vegetables and baked goods in no time. Start by getting over the mindset of ‘I can’t cook’ and you will be amazed at just how simple so much of this stuff is.

But you can find recipes for anything online – you can find simple and complicated recipes, there are programs where you enter in all the ingredients you have in the house and it throws out a couple of recipe options for you. The internetwebs has made cooking incredibly simple.

One thing Val and i recently started was the challenge of cooking one new meal a month each and so that has helped us to try things we’ve always wanted to make or even new things we haven’t even heard of. It has encouraged us to take on ethnic foods from other countries. I cooked my first ever fish the other day [fish fingers apparently don’t count] and the Tilapia was pretty amazing… excuse me for one second, have to go and pull some BROWNIES I JUST BAKED out of the oven [fork in and out with no stickiness on it and they are ready, and smelling really good!]

It is very easy to get caught up in what you are used to. And so, especially maybe as a guy living by yourself, it becomes take out and cereal and bread and beans, but the point i am trying to make here is that THERE IS SO MUCH MORE.  And the exciting thing is that like arrows in a quiver [not a metaphor, i’m talking actual arrows that bow-and-arrow-using people stick in actual quivers] once you know how to make something new, you have it for life.

And if you try something and it doesn’t work… IT DOESN’T MATTER… McDonald’s will still be around the corner – go and drown your sorrows in a McBaconburger and fries and try again tomorrow. Make good use of the internet. Invite a friend around and get them to show you how they make one of their favourite meals. One of my favourite meals is Shepherd’s pie and it’s s easy to make and so now it’s not just that great meal my mom makes for me on my birthday [yes, i like it that much!] it is now something both Val and i have made. And we can add our own unique twists to it. And it becomes our dish. Into the quiver you go.

i think i may have some more to say on this some day soon, but for now single man [hoping to get married one day and that your wife will magically just make all of the food?] take hold of the YES, YOU CAN! 

…and come back here when you’ve tried something, and let me know how it went… as for me, i’ve got some brownies to cut into squares and a wife to wake up and test them on…


lunchtime can have so many memories attached as food often does – it is seldom just about the food – usually the story or the company or the occasion…

so these three stood out for me…

firstly the one time it was about the food was this occasion of me sampling what must be the world’s biggest donut [which i got to sample when hanging out with my family in Texas two years ago] as kind of a lunchtime alternative:

the world's biggest donut

then secondly it was the occasion, which was on our honeymoon and tbV still claims this was the best sandwich she has ever eaten [with bacon, avo and feta as the chief ingredients it would be hard to go wrong]:

world's best sandwich

and lastly is was this beautifully cooked plate of breakfast food [altho eaten at lunchtime] slash bacon-and-friends that tbV cooked for me on honeymoon and so a combo of the food, the occasion and the company… good times, good food, but more importantly a great story, amazing memories and the start of an exciting adventure that continues on:

tbV supreme breakfast


[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Lost in the Details’ click here]

i am not a big fan of tradition whose only purpose in life is “we did it this way last time”

last nite, the beautiful Val and i celebrated Christmas eve with a few of our neighbors from Potter street where we have lived the last 19 months and are 5 days away from leaving… it was a fitting end to have a house full of good food, laughter and excited wife squeals and dances as the snow we had hoped for and asked for and desired so much decided to put in a guest appearance.

it was a really fun and feel-good evening and really quite simple to pull off.

and it could quite easily have been different! we could have rocked out on a lavish two person feast and just gone wild on our favourite foods and desserts and made it all about us. we could also have saved ourselves the effort of cooking and cleaning and made a reservation at some local restaurant and let someone else do the hard work.

but we decided to reach out to some of those who we have befriended this year. to some who may have spent Christmas by themselves. and to those who have emphatically welcomed us into their lives and space.

christmaseve                                                                                                                                    i suspect it had something to do with us both coming from families who specifically at Christmas [altho many other times as well] made a special effort to reach out to those who are lonely or alone or less fortunate than themselves…

we may not have fully grasped it as children and may even at times have been resentful as to why these ‘strangers’ are invading our space and taking a part of our time and our cherished favourite foods… but the moment we understood it and realised the significance of this simple act demonstrating the life belief we hold to and try to live out, it started to make the most sense in the world…

so we invited some friends around. we prepared a whole bunch of yummy food [including an amazing wife experiment involving sweet potatoes and marshmallows as a main course item] and we decorated and we prepared a fun question activity and we jumped and dance and sang when snow started to fall in the midst of it all – and we had the most amazing and hopefully transforming meal and evening.

i am not a big fan of tradition whose only purpose in life is “we did it this way last time” but tradition that is soaked with purpose and meaning and absolutely dripping with Love… well, that is something that we will have to keep coming back to, year after year…

and i would love to hear stories from anyone else who did something at Christmas that involved reaching out to someone different from those expected… please share.

yesterday tbV and now my friend as well, brian watson, dropped in for a visit… from South Africa, brian is in the middle of doing his PHD in Arizona in stuff you would have to hear to not really understand [altho solar power and keeping particles the right distance from each other and a billionth of a meter thin wire all enter into it] and it was great to get to see him.

he is actually spending most of the weekend with a friend of his in NYC so trained his way through to hang with us from yesterday afternoon and then left eeearly this morning…

what was really cool was that in the village house over a snack and then later on the train and then outside Mad Mex bar and then on the train and then during and after the potluck we had a number of significant conversations. at least a week’s worth altho probly closer to a month or a year for a lot of people i know.

real talk. about real things. life changing things. frustration with wanting church to get it a little bit closer to God’s way things. relationship things. community things.

[and actually we did touch on sport and movies and food in there but the point being that we spent so little time together – relatively – and yet the conversation was so rich]

i hesitate to finish with a challenge cos i suspect the kind of people who read this blog are the kind of people for whom rich conversations are the norm – not necessarily every one, but at least sometimes, and preferably often. and so maybe the challenge is more about challenging the people you know who can get through a year or a month or a week’s worth of conversations and only have dealt with the latest or rehashed information about food, sport and movies.

our time with brian left us feeling like we’d grown a bit and hopefully he did as well. we got stuff to think about and hopefully gave some. as a result of some of the talk that happened things will probably change, maybe in small ways, but maybe later in larger ones.

i still want to be able to quote Monty Python and get amped when we thrash the Aussies in the coming cricket test match and defend Michael Schumacher’s comeback [give him a car, Ross!] and do weird and silly voices with Monkman and get amped for coffee and chocolate and mashed potato… but at the same time i want to grapple with the problem of the drug dealers on our doorstep and try to figure out how to do community living better with the people we live with, and discover how Jesus and His teaching translates to the Puerto Rican people who live across the road from us and figure out how to improve the aft6er school homework program and formulate an opinion on Occupy Philly and and and…

let’s practice speaking more life, more meaningfully and more real. ly.

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