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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Preface

I have been trying to write a one page preface for my book and it is harder than I thought. Here is one I wrote and quickly rejected.

Who among us hasn’t flirted with the idea of uprooting yourself from the security of a comfortable life in a beautiful American city; moving to a country whose language you speak badly and where you don’t know a single person; plopping down at random in a city you visited only briefly long, long ago; moving into an apartment with total strangers who look at you as something along the lines of an exotic pet; changing absolutely as much about yourself, from your name to the food you eat so as to fit in better—you pray—in your new surroundings? Me neither, at least that’s not the way I looked at this move before I left. I was either too naïve, foolhardy, or ill-informed to give the possible downside of moving much in the way of consideration. I suppose that I had reached a time in my life when all of the risk of this move was completely outweighed by what I thought I would gain.

In popular parlance I guess you could call my decision to move a “no-brainer” which seems to fit on more than one level. On the one hand it seemed like an easy choice to make: stay where I was or make a huge change just for the fun of it. It was also a no-brainer in the sense that not much serious thought went into my move. I think the worst that could happen I have already laid out in the first paragraph, and it really wasn’t bad at all. Just about everything else I write about represents the best things that can happen if you take a flying leap into a new life. If someday I do hit bottom, I’ll spare you the details. Come to think of it, people love hearing about that sort of stuff so if it happens to me, I promise that I’ll take good notes as I fall to pieces.

I don’t think that complaining is an essential element when chronicling a new culture, not that I have much to complain about. There are some authors who have made a good career by whining about everything they see, hear, smell, and eat in their travels. I call this the “There’s No Place like Home” school of travel writing. These guys could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by just sitting in front of the television and watch as someone else does it for them. I consider myself to be extremely low maintenance, as they say, and when I travel I’m perfectly willing to sleep on a train station bench. I’m not saying that a bench is my first choice in sleeping arrangements but if it comes down to that I’ll survive for a night or two. I’ll eat damn near anything and extra credit if it’s fried (I’m actually a pretty good cook and I have a few essential recipes in the book).

I suppose that the flip side to complaining too much would be those writers who are overly-romantic in describing the people and places in their travels. You can call this the “Wine Dark Sea” school of flowery travel writing in which every noun has an accompanying adjective, every vista is “breathtaking,” every dish is “mouth-watering,” and every person you meet is a lovable and charming stereotype. I know it is very popular with readers so I should mention that I don’t fix up an old house in this book. Instead of This Old House my style is more This Brand New Apartment which means I have the time to work on my Spanish and reflect on the things Americans can learn from the Spanish lifestyle instead of making trips to the hardware store.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

¿Hablas español?



¿Hablas español?

I haven’t traveled to many countries in my life and most of those I have visited I speak at least a bit of the language. This is no coincidence as I don’t feel comfortable visiting places where I don’t speak any of the local language. I just feel stupid speaking English when I’m away from home. Now that my Spanish has greatly improved I think I would get along just fine in Italy, Romania, Portugal, and Brazil simply because Portuguese, Rumanian, and Italian are so similar to Spanish. I know that my phobia about foreign languages is a bit irrational and I shouldn’t let it keep me from seeing more of the world but it does. I don’t feel too claustrophobic as I can get by in Spanish, French, Arabic, and Greek. I’m certainly not bragging about this as my speaking ability in all but Spanish is pretty crappy but, as I said, I can get by.

I would say that a lot of Americans speak a lot more Spanish than they give themselves credit for knowing. Simple things like buenos días, buenas tardes, gracias, por favor, tacos, burritos, and being able to count are not such simple things if you have ever traveled to a country where you aren’t familiar with this absolutely essential vocabulary. A lot of people at this level probably think that their ability in Spanish isn’t worth mentioning. I would beg to differ. How many Americans know what cerveza means? If you can order a beer in the native language you are off to a great start in any country.

If I had this much of a base in Chinese, or Russian, or some other strange language I would be positively fearless about traveling to those lands. If you have taken even one high school Spanish class you would probably be amazed at how well you can get along in Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country. Just study up a bit before you take a trip and I guarantee that you will be quite pleased with your ability to effect any number of transactions in Spanish. I also guarantee that people won’t make fun of you. No matter what your level, people are always very grateful when someone even attempts to speak their language. I have spoken French with people in France who I know speak perfect English and they always allow me to struggle through in their language. I am very hard-headed in that I insist on speaking the language of the host country.

When you tell someone that you have studied a language invariably the first question they ask you is, “Are you fluent?” After studying any language for any length of time you realize that “fluent” has little concrete meaning. By fluent do they mean that you can order food in a restaurant, book a hotel, or offer greetings and thanks? If this is the case, then all of those Americans I mentioned before with a basic grasp of Spanish are fluent. For me “fluent” doesn’t have much meaning. I am more interested in just being able to function in another language—at least at first. Even being functional has a lot of room for interpretation. Learning another language isn’t like memorizing all of the State capitals; it is a huge task that can take a lifetime. There are plenty of rewards along the way and everyone gets a prize for trying. On one trip to Amsterdam I learned how to order a bottle of beer. It took me a while to memorize it because I got the phrase out of a guide book and I wasn’t at all sure about the pronunciation. I sat down at a café and blurted out my few words of Dutch to the waiter. He simply nodded and turned away. I don’t think that I have ever been more pleased with my accomplishments in the study of languages than when he came back with what I ordered. I felt like I had just brokered a peace between the Palestinians and Israelis in Arabic and Hebrew. You have to savor the little victories in life. Worry about Middle East peace later.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Diplomacy? What's That?

Diplomacy? What's That?

Who would have ever thought during the eight long years of the past presidential administration that America would ever try diplomacy? I thought we had all but given up trying to act like adults. After this I would love to see Obama finally end the embargo with Cuba.

I have been doing a fair bit of reading about the ancient Mediterranean world. The Persians were a much less bellicose empire than the Greeks or the Romans, preferring to negotiate to achieve their political aims, or f that didn’t work then to bribe their way out of a tricky situation. In the post World War II era, has America achieved anything through military means? If we have had any success in warfare it was probably greatly outweighed by the opportunity costs of not attempting another approach to the same problem.

I just want to say how refreshing it is to have a president who talks to people like adults.


Monday, March 16, 2009

In the "News"



In the "News"

Mr. Cramer, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat, said last week that the administration’s agenda was “destroying the life savings of millions of Americans.” One week earlier Mr. Kudlow declared that Mr. Obama was “declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private equity and venture capital funds.”

This appeared in the New York Times on March 9, 2009. My savings had been pretty much devastated well before Obama even took office. I have the bank statements to prove it so fuck the both of you two liars. Apart from all from all of the insider trading criminals, who would be foolish enough to invest in this incredibly shitty market? In an unbelievably bizarre turn of events, Jon Stewart, the host of a comedy news parody program, has taken it upon himself to do the job that the American press can’t be bothered to do. He has exposed some of the scumbags responsible for the current crisis, and more importantly, he has exposed the equally scummy members of the press who should have been keeping an eye on the thieves running the show. Instead, the financial press has been cheerleading for the very companies that we are now bailing out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

This shit storm all started when The Daily Show broadcast a clip of CNBC personality Rick Santelli criticizing the Obama administration for attempting to support people who had lost their homes in the recent financial implosion calling them “losers.” These are the same assholes who scream “Class Warfare” when anyone criticizes the rich. I mean, what the hell do these “losers” think by trying to own their own homes? What kind of human being ridicules people who are being evicted from their homes? How do these people get this way and how do we cure this affliction of heartlessness and utter stupidity?


One of the most disgusting things about this entire incident is that fact the NYT has taken the side of the people responsible for turning a blind eye to the financial establishment while markets were being ravaged by shady and illegal trading practices. The financial press, those we trust to monitor this facet of society, either willfully or through ignorance allowed this meltdown to happen with barely a whimper of protest. Then these same news outlets have creeps like this Santelli who blame the mess on home owners unable to make a few mortgage payments. Even worse, they criticize people like Stewart who try to make a bit of sense of the matter after the fact. This article basically accuses Jon Stewart of being sanctimonious when in fact he is merely doing the job the New York Times failed to do in reporting this huge mess.

Because even the dumbest of the dumb have seen that there conservative platform has been sinking, many who once called themselves Republicans are jumping ship and switching their name to libertarians. Evidently, Atlas Shrugged has been enjoying a bit of a revival as the former Republicans are desperately seeking new ideas. I guess they have already exhausted the wisdom of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Joe the plumber. Ayn Rand made me puke when I read her stuff when I was 16, mainly because there are only two kinds of people in her world: creative geniuses and people like me who are evidently only put here on earth to roll little balls of shit and to be the slaves of the smart folks. I can almost see how this Randian swill would appeal to the Paris Hiltons, Donald Trumps and W Bushes of the country, but how do they keep selling this shit to the lower order of conservatives? I can just see some out-of-work factory worker watching Fox News and getting pissed off because Obama wants to raise taxes for America’s top 1%.

The Daily Show clip was absolutely brilliant. It was one of the best works of political satire I've ever witnessed. Lord knows the "real" news people can't be counted on to do their jobs and point out the incredible hypocrisies that bombard our airwaves and systematically lower the IQ and critical thinking skills of most Americans. For the most part, our airwaves are filled with either puerile doggerel at best, and at worst every sort vile lies which are masquerading as information. All The Daily Show did was to point out some of the outrageous garbage that was being broadcast as news on some financial news networks. The last thing conservatives want if for people to have any kind of memory. They want us to believe that all of the country’s ills began when Obama took office two months ago. They don’t want people to remember the ridiculous claims they made for going to war in Iraq. They don’t want people to understand that while they held the White House and both houses of congress for six years they failed in just about every single aspect of governing. For those years they blame it all on Bill Clinton.

Conservatives criticize Obama’s stimulus plan because it is increasing the national debt yet they didn’t seem to have a problem when Bush all but bankrupted the country to finance his two failed wars. I know of no credible economists who would recommend against deficit spending while the country faces this huge slow-down. We lost 650,000 jobs in February alone. The Republican answer is to cut taxes and allow for more drilling in protected Alaskan wilderness. Their absurd energy proposal would probably net less than 20,000 jobs, at most. Energy isn’t a particularly labor-intensive industry. The Republican plan has nothing at all to do with helping Americans out of work; it is simply an obstructionist policy intended to hinder Obama. If Obama fails, the country fails, but what is that to Republicans?


*The fray began with this clip.
The full Cramer interview.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hot Turtle Action Video!

Hot Turtle Action Video!

Right Is Wrong

Right Is Wrong

Even in these days of crisis, there isn’t anyone or anything more bankrupt than American right-wing political ideology. For their de facto leaders they have selected such intellectual dry wells as Rush Limbaugh, Joe the plumber, and Sarah “Africa is a country?” Palin. Their base is now the lowest common denominator, the demographic equivalent of a deep south, pre-civil rights movement lynch mob and getting uglier by the day.

The Republicans are rebounding from eight years in which they controlled the executive and judicial branches of government, and for six of those years they were in control of congress as well yet they are trying to blame all of the country’s many ills on Obama who has been in office for less than two months. Everything from the stock market crash, to job loss, to our failings in Iraq and Afghanistan are somehow to be blamed on the new guy. If I had a nickel for every time some righty mouthed off about how important it is for all of us to take responsibility for our own actions…well, let’s just say that I’d have enough nickels to bailout A.I.G. I guess taking responsibility for your own actions only applies to welfare mothers and homeless people because Republicans refuse to take the blame for the last eight years of utterly failed policy.

A classic example of the conservative idea of “taking responsibility for your own actions” was Rush Limbaugh’s phony mea culpa after he was caught red-handed in illegal drug transactions. He was incredibly sanctimonious about the fact that he was admitting to using drugs but this occurred after he was caught buying enough pain killers to kill off members of The Rolling Stones, Motley Crü, White Snake, and Spinal Tap, along with all of their roadies.

He told his gullible audience that he suffers from back pain and got hooked on pain pills which he was taking by the handful, a guy who is on record for denouncing drug rehabilitation and in favor of stiffer penalties for drug users. The back pain defense was so incredibly phony and disingenuous, at least to me. Over the course of my life I have had back pain at times that has literally crippled me yet I didn’t resort to drugs. Drugs can’t do a damn thing for back pain; any doctor will tell you that. I would have had a bit of respect for the tubby talk show host had he said that taking fistfuls of downers was a blast; just don’t tell me that you are addicted to pills because your back hurts. That isn’t taking responsibility for your own actions. That is blaming it on something that is out of your control and therefore the exact opposite of taking personal responsibility.

You may find this to be incredibly ironic, the fact that the party that has paid such lip service to the idea of personal responsibility can’t own up to a single mistake their party has committed. Conservatives don’t find it ironic because they don’t even understand the idea of irony. Either that or they have an irony deficiency, a sort of birth defect, kind of like how dogs are supposedly color blind. American conservatives also have an uncanny knack for changing the rules in mid-game. If you need any clarification on this matter just go back to the Iraq invasion. President Bush changed our reasons for entering that country at least a half dozen times.

But the most amazing facility of conservatives is their ability to change our definitions of just about anything you can think of in order to suit their own needs. Just look back to the 2004 Presidential campaign and the huge hullaballoo over the candidates’ service records. Cheney had five deferments so as not to serve in Viet Nam, a war he agreed with—at least ideologically. Bush was basically A.W.O.L. from the Texas National Guard. Once again, Bush agreed with our Viet Nam war policy. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, volunteered for service in the United States Navy. He served with distinction and bravery. He was decorated for his service in combat. With these facts to go on, in their despicable “Swift Boat” campaign the Republicans were able to change the reality and say all kinds of slanderous shit about Kerry and his war record. Forget about the medals he was awarded by our government for valiant service to our nation, Rush Limbaugh—another draft dodger-war monger—says that Kerry was basically a traitor. I guess I should have Rush review all of my service decorations to make sure they pass muster with the chicken hawks.

During the most recent Presidential Campaign, the Republicans attempted to paint Obama as a beneficiary of affirmative action by saying the only reason he got into Columbia and Harvard Law School was because he was black. Of course, they can’t explain how he did so well once he was inside those Ivy League walls. McCain on the other hand, only got into the Naval Academy because he was a legacy. Once in he graduated something like 5th from the bottom of his class. Obama was often described as a “slick talker.” I suppose this means anyone who speaks English as if it were their first language—something Bush never quite achieved. When everyone quickly realized that Bush is basically an idiot, especially compared to his first opponent, Al Gore, the Republican spin machine painted him as the guy you’d want to have a beer with—but you couldn’t because he’s an alcoholic and can’t drink. I certainly wouldn’t want to have a beer with anyone as stupid as Bush.

Back in 2004, presidential candidate John Kerry had to distance himself from the fact that he speaks fluent French after he was actually mocked for this by conservatives, as if speaking another language is somehow an impediment for anyone who wants to be the leader of the free world. This sort of critique of Kerry belongs somewhere back in the Chinese cultural revolution where intellectuals were ridiculed and forced to work as stable cleaners.

Bill Clinton was hounded half-to-death for saying that he smoked pot. His rather disingenuous claim that he didn’t inhale bothered me more than admitting he had smoked, but conservatives couldn’t shut up about the fact that he had tired pot. I would be seriously suspicious of anyone from this era who at least didn’t sample marijuana. It shows an incredible lack of curiosity. George W. Bush certainly didn’t suffer from lack of curiosity, at least as far as drugs were concerned. Bush was a notorious drug user and drunk. He got a DUI when he was in his 30´s—well past the indiscreet youth phase of drunkenness. I kept waiting for the “liberal media” to go after Bush’s drug history…cue crickets chirping. Nothing.

Obama was accused of being an elitist, whatever the hell that means in the minds of conservatives. I suppose that it could mean anyone who believes in evolution. Here’s one thing about conservatives: They aren’t exactly terrified of contradicting themselves.

And now we come to the modern era, and I mean that in a quite literal way after suffering through the eight almost medieval years of the Bush Administration where science was derided and the power of "faith" exalted. About the only idea the conservatives can come up with is to work in opposition to anything Obama proposes. They are suddenly the party of financial responsibility and highly opposed to government deficit spending. This while being up to our eyebrows in job loss (650,000 Americans lost their jobs in February alone). The Republicans didn’t seem to mind huge government deficits during the Bush years to pay for our failed efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Defense spending is about the least beneficial way to spend tax dollars. We basically siphoned money out of our country to pay for holes in the deserts of the two countries we invaded. The new Obama stimulus package, while far from perfect, will go to rebuild a lot of American infrastructure. The private sector has proven that it is completely incapable of jump-starting the economy and any economist worth his salt agrees that government spending is necessary. I tend to go along with the thinking of Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman on this issue. He says that this is no time to be cautious with government stimulus.

The Republicans ignore Nobel Prize winning economists in favor of Joe the plumber and Rush Limbaugh. This is just another example of the dream land they inhabit that is free from facts and immune to argument.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Taking It in Stride

Taking It in Stride

I’m sure that everyone around me is tired of hearing me complain about the cold winter we’ve had here in Valencia. OK, it’s been cold for standards here in Valencia. Even with the cold I have managed to ride my bike six days a week, week after week, since the beginning of the New Year. I rode a lot before then but I was counting. I have had to wrap myself up in four layers of jerseys to fend off the low temperatures and chilly winds. The weather broke a couple of days ago after a heavy rain with temperatures soaring into the 20’s. Instead of four shirts I was able to get away with one long sleeve jersey yesterday and I was sweating right from the start.

It was warm the day before but the wind made my ride hell on the way back. I should have turned around after the first few kilometers and headed in the opposite direction so as to have the tailwind on the return leg. But I was really flying with the heavy breeze pushing me so I stayed on course and hoped for a direction change in the wind for the way back. It didn’t change directions. The wind was right in my face the entire 20 kilometers on the way back. I was actually cursing my invisible enemy when gusts would bring me almost to a complete halt. I would much rather ride up a viciously steep hill than ride into a headwind. At least you can see a mountain.

The wind died down to a mere whisper yesterday. I was out of the house before 11 am which means I had a lot of day left for cycling. As I was pedaling my way out of town all I could think about was how this day was absolute perfection for biking. I had to unzip my jersey to let in some air to cool down. How I had missed the sensation of feeling warm! I went about an hour and a half south to Cullera, as beautiful a beach as you’ll find on this section of the Spanish coast. I immediately turned around and headed back. This wasn’t a sightseeing tour; I was out to unclog an artery or two.

Then I had a flat tire. It’s been a while for me so even that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. I changed the tube and kept going. About another kilometer later I had another flat, this time on the rear. I usually carry two tubes as well as a patch kit but I wasn’t wearing my pack. I just had a spare tube and tools in a little bag behind my seat. This meant that I was stranded about 10 kilometers from Valencia. A couple cyclists stopped to offer help but they didn’t have patch kits and their spare tubes wouldn’t fit on my wheels. I started walking thinking that someone would come along to bail me out. About 100 meters up the road the other tire inexplicably burst. Now I had a blowout, a flat tire, and a punctured spare tube.

I have recently been listening to recorded books on my MP3 player when I ride my bike. I had never listened to music while riding as I consider it dangerous. You need your auditory functions while cycling to alert you to danger. I still believe this but I am hooked on audio books. I ride almost exclusively on the bike trail so I figure as long as I keep to the far right of the path I am posing no danger to others and only a minimal danger to myself. Since I began listening to books as I ride I have been making a survey of the ancient Greek and Roman world. I had just finished a book on the lives of famous Greeks and Romans. On this day I was listening to a history of the Punic Wars—pretty good company for a long bike ride.

My first reaction upon incurring my third flat during a single bike ride was to become angry. I quickly brushed this aside as not being very stoic, stoic in the sense of the Stoics, the philosophy of Zeno, a third century B.C. Greek. Zeno would have considered my anger at something out of my control to be an error in judgment and a frivolous and childish response to my situation. About a kilometer of walking after my third blowout another cyclist stopped to offer assistance. By this time I had resigned myself to hoofing it the rest of the way home. He said he had a patch kit but I really didn’t feel like dealing with fixing to flats. I told him how much I loved to walk. I said that I would wager that I could walk all the way to the Ruzafa Market from where we were near El Saler Beach. Then I told him that I had to walk that far since I lived next door. At least I got a laugh out of my woes.

If anyone thinks that I whine too much about the cold weather they have never heard me bitch about walking. I hate to walk, loath it. I would rather ride my bike ten kilometers than walk three blocks. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this option on this beautiful afternoon on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It seems amazing to me but you can really get from point A to point B simply by placing one foot in front of the other. Of course you have to do this countless times and it takes forever, but you will get there eventually.

My mountain bike cycling shoes aren’t the best footgear for a 10 kilometer hike, but I’ve had worse things on my feet while walking. The audio book was excellent. It is part of the Modern Scholar series called Wars that Made the Western World taught by Professor Timothy B. Shutt of Kenyon College. I don’t know how long it took me to walk home, sometime between 264 and 146 BC. When I reached my neighborhood I decided that it was too nice to go home. I had a couple of euros in my pocket so I sat down on the terrace of one of my favorite neighborhood cafés and had a glass of white wine while I finished listening about the Punic Wars. Even with the three flat tires this had been a pretty good afternoon. Zeno, Epictetus, and the other Stoics would have been proud of me.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mixed Metaphors, a Festival Begins, and a Recipe

Mixed Metaphors, a Festival Begins, and a Recipe

I am working on another writing project. Just think of these few paragraphs as a flare gun so that people can see that I haven’t sunk to the bottom of the sea—not that anyone is actually looking for me. And this definitely isn’t an SOS although some people would probably argue that every word I have ever written is a desperate cry for help. So perhaps this essay is less like a flare gun and more like one of those proof-of-life signs that kidnappers provide to insure that their hostage is alive and well.

Valencia is in its pre-Fallas mode when there is a lot going on to prepare for the huge blowout festival to come. Lights are being strung up everywhere, especially on Calle Sueca which looks like the wet dream of Clark Griswold from the Christmas Vacation movie. I even saw my first buñuelo stand being erected last night. These are little street-side booths that sell deep-fried donuts along with hot chocolate. They have all kinds of crazy neon lights and some of them are absolutely beautiful. They are only here for a couple weeks during Fallas and then they disappear for the rest of the year. I wonder where they go.

The daily mascletà ritual begins on the afternoon of March 1st. This is the percussion fireworks display held at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 2pm. No matter what I am doing I try to make it down to the square for this. I call it the cheapest of cheap thrills. Actually, it’s better than cheap; it’s free. I love how much energy in pumps into Valencia. Every day tens of thousands of people show up to have their hearing damaged just a little. Ten minutes later it is over and everyone runs off to do whatever it is they are going to do.

Fallas officially begins on the 15th of March but there is a plenty happening before that. The bull festival begins on the 9th which helps to usher in the Spanish season of the Corrida de Toros. All of the little terrorist kids are chucking firecrackers all day long. Luckily, the little animals don’t play near my building so I am spared most of the noise.

The weather has been crap for the most part. It’s been kind of cold all winter which you might expect unless you lived here last winter when we had clear skies and temperatures around 20 degrees even in January. I have only missed about three days this year because of rain but my bike rides have been rather cold on most days. In Seattle it is pretty much a given that you stay in the gym for your workout during much of the winter so I shouldn’t complain. I just think that complaining makes me more Spanish.

Someone sent me some paprika from Hungary so I made chicken paprikash last night. I used to know someone who made this dish and it was always one of my favorites although I never learned how to make it from her. What a pity, Kimberly. My first attempt was pretty good but I didn’t thicken the stock with the flour which I will do the next time I make it. You can also serve this with potatoes or noodles instead of the dumplings.

I also learned that to make an adjective in Hungarian you add the letter S to the end of a noun but it is pronounced "sh." So "paprika" becomes "paprikash." I love little stuff like that and the dish itself is one of the best things you are ever going to put in your mouth.

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken broth
Chicken cut in pieces
Butter
Olive oil
Chopped onion
2 heaping tsp. paprika
1 Cup sour cream
2 tbsp. flour

Brown chicken in butter and olive oil; remove and set aside. Add onion to butter and cook until tender. Return chicken to skillet and add broth. Add paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.
Blend flour with a little water then blend into chicken. In a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the broth from the pot. At the very end add the sour cream to the pot and immediately turn off the heat or the sour cream will curdle. Serve with dumplings.

Dumplings

3 Beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
¼ Cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 Cups flour
To prepare dumplings: Combine eggs, milk and salt. Stir into flour. Drop by teaspoons into boiling salted water. Cook 5 minutes after they float. Don’t over-cook the dumplings or they turn into little bricks.