Little things I miss

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

No, not really.

I don’t know what put me on this path, I think it was filling up the ice trays from the distiller one night.  There are little things that I certainly can do without, but I really enjoy having, which aren’t here in Benin.  I’m sure as soon as I post this I’ll think of some more, but for now….

  • Automatic ice makers.
  • Digital video recorders.
  • 24 hour anything (restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores).
  • 110 v when and where I need it.
  • Root beer and cream soda.
  • Iced tea in restaurants.
  • No smoking in restaurants.
  • Automatic garage door openers.
  • Safe tap water.
  • Onion rings.

I do need to mention once again it’s rainy season in Benin.  We had a downpour this morning accompanied by the loudest thunder I’ve heard in a long time.  Make you jump a foot out of your chair thunder.  It followed enough dry days that the roads were starting to dry out.  I should have known better.

I’ve gotten so used to having to watch sporting events at odd times of the day and night, that the fact that the World Cup is only one time zone away is throwing me off kilter.

I was wondering if anyone fills out World Cup brackets like Americans do NCAA basketball brackets?

My favorite cake donut recipe (so far), is modified from the one on here in two ways:

  1. Add a cup of flour.
  2. At least two hours in the fridge.

Here’s how I do it:


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not 2 1/2)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten (I’ve made a half batch with 1 egg, so you may try 2 for the full)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 quarts oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (not 1).
  2. Heat oil in a deep heavy skillet or deep-fryer to 370 degrees F (185 degrees C). On a floured board (the dough can be sticky, although the extra cup of flour and the extra time in the fridge helps), roll chilled dough out to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a 3 inch round cutter to cut out doughnuts. Use a smaller cutter to cut holes from center. If you do not have a small cutter, use the mouth of a bottle. (or don’t worry about it, and make donut strips by cutting one inch wide strips, about 4 inches long)
  3. Fry doughnuts in hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Remove from oil to drain on paper plates (or towels). Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a large resealable bag. Place a few warm donuts into the bag at a time, seal and shake to coat.  (Or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.  I’m going to try some other toppings when I get time)


Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

4 responses to “Little things I miss

  1. A&W root beer *and* cream soda can both (occasionally) be found at Mayfair. Usually for 750 FCFA a can, but whaddaya gonna do?

  2. It’s totally awesome what an amazing cook you are! Go you. 🙂 I wouldn’t even *attempt* this recipe. You’re amazing!

  3. It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  4. Pete Maher

    Rich – I found your blog site – fun reading! Pete

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