Whip yourself up a batch of these little guys if you need to let off some steam.
Once upon a time. I lived in New Haven and worked nights at a restaurant called Caffe Adulis. It was Eritrean, owned by Gideon, who, legend had it, worked his way up from dish washer to restaurant owner. He and his Eritrean brothers, Sale and Ficre, ran the show. I didn't like them particularly, but for Gideon I had a grudging respect. He was good at what he did, and straightforward about it. Even if he drank Cosmopolitans.
We, the waitresses, had to prepare these poppers in the kitchen before service. Jalapenos, de-seeded, onion and tomato chopped fine, mixed with ber ber, the red spice mix they would bring back for the old country, and exactly - it seemed - like the peri peri I knew, of Mozambiquan extraction. Maybe there was garlic. I seem to remember Topaze adding spoonsful.
Because, apart from a love of the food that we still miss, Caffe Adulis yielded two lifelong friends, Lisa and Topaze. We speak little and see each other seldom. Lisa is in Oak Park, which is not Chicago, and Topaze in San Diego. Both have families. I am the tall black sheep.
We were a disparate group, perhaps not one of us very happy at the time, back in those days, with our respective wounds and their complications. But something about the place and time cemented a bond that I hold terribly dear.
So, faraway friends, I think we should plan something. We need to get drunk.
And remember Gretchen? Gretchen handed me glass of water to drink after Sale had exploded at me one night and I was in tears of rage. It was only halfway through the gulping that I realized it was a tumblerful of neat gin.