Claire Grasse

I'm a government contractor in Kuwait, trying to make the best of culture shock and camel spiders, and living by the motto that laughter really is the cure for most of life's ills. Unless you're diabetic. Then you really need insulin.

Of Toasters and Triangle Butts

A/N: I had some great animated gifs for this post, but then the 1992 internet connection kicked in and I figured it was time to hit CTRL+V and get out of the building while the lights were still on. So to speak. A toaster fell on my head today and I’m embarrassed at how happy it made me. I’m not normally a toast eater, but I’d just bought some great artisan bread at the Sultan Center and I was thinking that it would be delicious toasted, if only I owned a toaster. Then I reached into a cupboard to put something away and the toaster fell out on top of me....more

Leo the Syrian Cabdriver

Politicians and televangelists excepted, most of us have a conscience in one degree or another. My conscience—that little voice inside my head that tells me right from wrong—is a Syrian cabdriver named Leo. He speaks with a pithy, folksy sort of wisdom, and has truly terrible teeth. Sometimes he sounds like my mother, and sometimes he sounds like my husband, and sometimes he sounds like my 6th grade teacher, Mrs Lorna Brewer. He doesn’t let me slide on much. You need to eat more vegetables, Leo tells me, before you die of scurvy....more

Channeling Rachel Ray Just Isn't the Same In the Desert

I’m a lot like Rachel Ray. In fact, people get us confused all the time. Sometimes, I’ll be out walking and I’ll hear someone yell “OMG, it’s Rachel Ray!” When that happens I just blow a kiss and keep on going. I enjoy having fans, even if they’re mistaken. …OK, I lied. I don’t really have fans, and no one ever mistakes me for Rachel Ray. We are a little bit alike though, in that we’re both slightly chubby brunettes from the Adirondacks....more

Some Observations and a Medical Miracle

I’ve been observing Kuwait culture for a few weeks now, and I can’t help but notice that while there are some areas where the U.S. clearly shines, Kuwait is far superior in others. I’ve been keeping a kind of informal tally sheet in my head. Here are the winners in a few categories: Road names: The road I travel to get to work in Kuwait is called The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz Highway. The name of the toll road that links my hometown with Austin, Texas?...more

How Do I Love Thee, Harris? Let Me Count the Ways

I stayed after work tonight to exercise at the on-post gym. Big mistake. Not the gym—that part was fine. Cardio and all. But the late drive home took me through Kuwait weekend traffic, and that was an experience I wouldn’t wish on… well, there are a few people I would wish it on, but no one I like.I am absolutely ashamed of the things that came out of my mouth in that traffic circle. My mama raised me better than that. But really, how many near-death experiences can one person take in an hour?...more

Getting Lost Again... and Again... and Again...

  There’s a lot to like about Kuwait: cheap taxis, funky bazaars, great ethnic food. And every single restaurant promises to deliver to my doorstep (well, except McDonalds. But I didn’t travel 6,000 miles to eat McByproducts anyway). There’s one thing here that I’ve grown to hate though, and I hate it with a passion impossible to express in a 600 word blog post. It’s a phrase. A death knell, really....more

Driving Safety: A Kuwaiti Oxymoron

Welcome to Kuwait, the nation that boasts the highest traffic crash rate in the world. In a country the size of New Jersey there are 60,000 traffic accidents each year and 400 fatalities.400 seems low for the way they drive here.People drive on the sidewalks, they drive the wrong way down the streets, they drive with unrestrained kids hopping back and forth over the seats, and they drive while reading the newspaper. It makes the texting-while-driving epidemic in the U.S. look tame....more

Cheesy Rice with Something Green

 **Please note: all food posts are from my previous blog The Flexitarian Kitchen. I've kept them here because... well, they're good recipes. And it's late. And I'm tired of adjusting my settings. Think of these recipes as the free prize in the bottom of the cereal box!This weekend, I cleaned out my pantry. And to my shame and horror I found, hidden away in the back, nearly 20 lbs of rice. ...more

Kitchri, Beautiful Kitchri

 **Please note: all food posts are from my previous blog The Flexitarian Kitchen. I've kept them here because... well, they're good recipes. And it's late. And I'm tired of adjusting my settings. Think of these recipes as the free prize in the bottom of the cereal box! My soaper friend Swifty® (aka Carol Grant) posted this recipe on our soapmaking forum a few years ago, and my life has never been the same. Swifty®, a grateful nation thanks you for this recipe. Kitchri, ah, kitchri....more

This is probably one of my favorites! I love this recipe! more

Fettucine Alfredo

 **Please note: all food posts are from my previous blog The Flexitarian Kitchen. I've kept them here because... well, they're good recipes. And it's late. And I'm tired of adjusting my settings. Think of these recipes as the free prize in the bottom of the cereal box! ...more