Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bo-cha and potatoes

I made yak butter tea today (bo-cha). I used our ‘regular’ cow butter instead of yak butter since it is not available in the Sonoran desert. I made the tea with pu-erh tea, adding it to boiling water for a few minutes. The next step, if I were being authentic about making bo-cha, would be to strain the tea and pour it into the tall, wooden, cylindrical butter churn used by Tibetans just for bo-cha (called a chandong).
My next step, was to pour the boiling hot strained tea into an electric blender. In went a little sea salt, some butter, and half and half. I ‘churned’ it all up in a few seconds. I drank a few bowls of bo-cha with my lunch of purple, yellow and red potatoes sautéed in olive oil with green pepper, yellow onion, cabbage, garlic, pepper, oregano, and salt. Yum. The tea was very satisfying—and rich.

Over the past several months especially, I have read many books and articles on Tibet and Tibetan culture and have watched some of my favorite movies about Tibet over and over again. Last night, I continued reading the book Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey Into Bhutan written by a young Canadian woman who went to Bhutan to teach English. In the part I was reading before bed, she was eating a Bhutanese potato dish in the home of a fellow teacher. Before I fell asleep, I knew I would make some pretend Bhutanese potatoes for my main meal today, too. The potatoes were real, they just weren’t Bhutanese—like the lack of yak butter in my yak butter tea. But, with the good imagination that I possess, I was enjoying real bo-cha and eating real Bhutan style potatoes.
Cooking and eating foods from books and movies is also a fun thing to do with reading classes and with students of all ages in language classes. Edible enactments create new ways to engage learners with the story, their imaginations, tools, language, and with each other.

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Tomorrow, Friday, the 16th of September, is day one of the "Tucson Teachings" given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I’m sure HH (His Holiness) has already arrived in Tucson and is here now.
I will be listening to the daily live broadcasts of his teachings on Chapter 8 of Shantideva’s The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
HH's teachings are available free to anyone with a high-speed internet connection and iTunes or WinAmp (these can be easily downloaded from the LamRim radio site given above). The teachings will be broadcast from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm (MST) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the 16th, 17th, and 18th of September. HH gives his teachings in Tibetan while a professional interpreter gives the English version consecutively. Sometimes, HH may speak a little English to add to or clarify a point.
I find HH’s laughter alone is worth listening to the talks.

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On another entirely different topic, I woke with a happy, light feeling this morning.
Jesse was curled up on top of the sheet and was nestled into my side. I had a song in my mind to the tune of This Little Light of Mine (I’m Gonna Let it Shine):

This little cat of mine/I love her all the time
This little cat of mine/I love her all the time….

As I cooked my potatoes and moved around the house I sang this song and also the original.

This little light of mine/I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine/I’m gonna let it shine….

This little cat of mine/I love her all the time
All the time/all the time/all the time.

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The script above my illustration is my attempt at writing the Tibetan word for butter tea, bo-cha. It may not be accurate. I consulted a Tibetan language site to write it.

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