Posted by: scribe9 | May 30, 2010

Weekend miscellany

We started the weekend with our usual trip to the growers’ market. It’s clearly broccoli season; we bought a large, lovely head for $NZ1, which is 68 US cents. And we will miss the lovely mesclun mix, which must have at least a dozen different kinds of greens and herbs. We also bought more sweet potatoes, the national vegetable, and now I’m on the lookout for non-sweet recipes; back in November, a Kiwi asked me–with a shudder–whether Americans really eat sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and I had to admit that many did.

The Auckland paper’s weekend edition comes out Saturday morning, and a guest columnist wrote about lacrosse: “For the unititiated, it’s a field game involving a stick, a net, a ball and lots of running. Men’s lacrosse is even better–it’s a true American game, in that you can hit someone but you can’t swear at them. Awesome.” Really? Or is it only in New Zealand that lacrosse players can’t swear at each other?

Also on Saturday, we attended our friends’ nine-year-old’s hockey game. It’s co-ed field hockey, played on a half field such as young soccer players use. (The only place in the US I’ve seen field hockey played is at the University of Oregon, in the 1970s–I have no idea where all those players learned it, because I didn’t know of any Oregon public schools where it was played.) The nine-year-old was playing for her school’s team, and had been given a nice uniform–all she had to provide was a stick. (So different from our experience in Australia–even though it is a sports-crazy country (or as Aussies would say, they’re keen sportsmen), the teams all seemed to be private. ) Everyone plays at a huge public sports venue–there were also lots of rugby and soccer and netball games going on. It reminded me of soccer Saturdays back when our kids played.

All that exercise is a good thing, considering the level of fat in the New Zealand diet. Grocery stores sell two-liter jugs of cream–yes, indeed, more than half a gallon. The newest flavor of milk is cookies-and-cream. And you can buy a tub of drippings.

We stopped at the butcher, which sells not only fresh meat but also huge packages of French fries, hash brown patties, sausages, and pre-cooked hamburgers. Next door to the butcher was the liquor store, which sells beer and wine as well as hard liquor. Somehow I was able to pass up the white wine sold like pop in an aluminum can, as well as the seemingly endless brands mixing whiskey and cola in similar cans.

More and more birds are showing up in the neighborhood–probably moving up from the South Island, which is colder. I’d been hearing a loud cell phone in the neighborhood, without seeing anyone–turns out it’s a mockingbird!



  1. Sweet potatoes and yams are not the same. Most Americans eat yams with marshmallows, although we never do in our household, but most Americans do not eat sweet potatoes. Very different tubers.

    • What Americans call sweet potatoes and what they call yams are both lumped together by New Zealanders under the Maori word Kumara. There are three main types for sale, and I usually buy a mix.

  2. We played field hockey at Lake Oswego. It was required. I always angled for the back field on the dominant team. I don’t care for getting whacked with a large stick.

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