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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


beau rive living room

Beau Rive (www.beaurive.com 767-445-8992) is a truly outstanding “old world charm” hotel in Castle Bruce run by its proprietor Mark Steele.

The hotel normally serves only breakfasts and suppers and only to its guests and its fare is table d’hôte. But because we’re friends and because it was our 37th wedding anniversary and our daughter was visiting from the US and her and best friend and former college roommate paid an additional surprise visit, and because he wasn’t full up with guests and thus had a table free, Mark consented to provide us a meal even though we were not hotel guests.

The meal was outstanding. We had tomato tart appetizers, coconut chicken with breadfruit garnish entree (our daughter Mathilda, a vegetarian, had a special veggie plate) and fruit crumble with ice cream dessert and coffee & tea. The ambience was wonderful, with soft jazz playing and jasmine scent occasionally wafting through.

If you’re visiting Dominica, or live here and want a classy getaway, you can do no better than to lodge at Beau Rive.

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lima beans

Editor’s note: I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, I’m not asserting that “different” is wrong. It’s probably right for here; only I’m unused to it.

The Dominican Difference #2: When to eat Lima beans. Here in Dominica they’re called “butter beans” and people let them become hard, brown mature seeds before they gather them.

When they are hard brown and dry they must be soaked a long time before cooking or cooked in a pressure cooker in order to make them soft and palatable. I understand why it’s customary to gather dry beans here. They are not grown in patches, and it is seldom that enough can be gathered for one meal, especially a family meal. And, many Dominicans, especially in days past, had no refrigeration, meaning only dry beans could be stored.

In the USA these beans are called “baby limas” when they are small and green, and “lima beans” when they are large but before turning dry and brown and hard. After they turn brown, they’re called “navy beans”, because the navy could store those in bags. Trust me, the baby limas and limas are delicious. They can simply be boiled for a short time. Serve them with butter. For an extra delicious treat, take some sweet corn off the cob and boil the kernels with the beans. The dish is called succotash.

We like these beans so much that I gathered some seeds in the wild and we planted them. Placed in a pot, they sprouted overnight! I half expected to see a giant atop a beanstalk. We planted a row of them along wires we strung between poles so that now we have a “butter bean” crop.

Pretty much goes the same for wild peas (“bougasu” in Patois; “pois sauvage” in French). They are delicious raw in salads when still green, although they can be stored or used as seeds when brown. The pea plant has a pretty little flower, from which the peacock gets its name. Look carefully at the flower and you’d easily see the bird’s body and tail fan. One pea variety has a pretty reddish leaf and potted makes a nice house plant; I suppose its peas are also edible.

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During these tough economic times, more families need to economize and save. But cutting back everywhere isn’t always the best course.

Sure you’re cutting back to save money,but you and your family have to eat, house yourselves and stay healthy.

But once you’ve taken care of the essentials, financial experts say there are additional areas that require real investment, whether you are spending time or money.

The Wall Street Journal recently rounded up six places it pays to spend more cash, not less.

In a nutshell, the WSJ suggests it’s worth your money to:

1. Pay for expert advice.
2. Pay to bring down debt.
3. Pay yourself.
4. Pay for little indulgences.
5. Pay for some things you could do yourself.
6. Comparison shop.

Tips like paying for a little indulgences may sound a bit condescending, but even they can pay off big-time in the long run:

Indulging in the occasional guilty pleasure—a $4 latte, for example—can be a good idea when times are lean, says Erica Sandberg, author of “Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families.”

“It’s a very dreary existence when you cut down your expenses to an absolute skeletal budget,” Ms. Sandberg says. “If you do that too long, it’s like a diet, and you are going to raid the refrigerator.”

Be sure to take some time out to read WSJ article [Scrimp to Save More Than Money – via Consumerist] for a more in-dept explanation behind each expense – and while we’re on the topic to “Saving or Spending money” we’d love to hear what expenses you think are worth paying for in the midst of this global recession. Let’s hear what you’re to say in the comment.

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