Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to talk like a Kiwi

Joe and a flock of Kiwis round for tea

They gave Joe a trophy for Best 80's Vinyl

If you have been paying attention, our landlord, Simon, is from New Zealand, which makes him a Kiwi.

The country of New Zealand is found at latitude 43° 32' S and longitude 172° 37' E which is way the hell in the bottom southeast corner of the planet.

Because of this, Kiwis love to fly (although you may have heard otherwise). In fact they have no fear of jumping on five planes to get to Fairbanks, which is just what Simon's sister Bridget and brother-in-law Greg did in order to spend ten days with Simon and Gareth skiing and doing other typically adventurous Kiwi things. I think they said they made stops in Auckland, Tahiti, Hawaii, Seattle and Anchorage.

Besides being so rugged and adventurous, Kiwis are very well-mannered, polite and fun to hang out with, although I don't always get what they're saying (compared to Americans, Kiwis are way more connected to Merry Old England which explains their strange speech).

For example:

We say "shopping cart" they say "trolley"

We say "Come over for dinner" they say "Come round for tea" (they have that Englishy thing about tea, I could go on but...)

After dinner we say "What's for dessert?" they say "What's for pudding?" I don't really care for Jello and was glad when I learned it could mean brownies.

We say "I'll buy this round" they say "My shout"

And so on:

bonnet = hood of the car

boot = trunk of the car

brekkie = breakfast

chokkie = chocolate (according to Gareth only Simon uses this word)

heaps = very, a lot ("we have heaps of firewood")

kindie = kindergarten

petrol = gasoline

rough as guts = uncouth, coarse, crude (their version of "born in a barn")

safe as houses = a sure thing (we would never say that about houses in this country!)

togs = swimsuit

tramp = hike

zed = the letter "Z"

Then there are words I have no explanation for:

dag = as in "he's such a dag". A dag is a piece of poop stuck to the rear end of a sheep (sheep are important there, so I'm guessing it's their "horse's ass"???)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ice Follies

Joe and I finally made it to Ice Alaska, the international ice carving championships that take place each winter in Fairbanks. With temperatures hitting the upper 30's in February we thought we'd miss out, but there was plenty to see in March, now that it is back to the twenty belows at night and the five aboves during the day.

This one says it all don'tcha think?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cooking, Sopranos Style

Joe found The Sopranos Family Cookbook at our local thrift store. Besides being entertaining (it's written in the voice of Artie Bucco, the fictional owner and head chef of Vesuvio, the upscale eatery where many Soprano-centric situations unfold around tables groaning with food and wine) it actually has lots of great recipes. I made Biscotti Regina, a simple butter cookie coated with sesame seeds that we've been scarfing down one after the other with our afternoon decaf.

Right now Joe is making Osso Bucco alla Bucco (one of Artie's specialties).

If like me you're a fan of Mafia-themed movies and shows, then you surely have noticed the importance of food in these stories--the most famous of which is probably the line in the Godfather: "Leave the gun, take the cannoli." Goodfellas featured a scene of how to make a decent sauce in prison using a razor to cut paper-thin slices of garlic that liquified in the pan with a little oil. It's about time somebody decided to publish a cookbook of all this good stuff!

Buon appetito!