Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunch “out” with Kylie

Our family was invited to my house worker’s home for lunch, but Doug had to stay with the two sick ones, so only Kylie and I went.

We walked behind our house, following Alice through trails never known to me, to reach her homestead. Look at one of the bridges we had to cross. This, of course, would have "insurance hazard" written all over it in America.

She lives up on the hill with her family: both grandmothers, one grandfather, cousins, an uncle, an orphan they’ve taken in, and Alice’s husband and children. There were about 7 houses on her property, and they all work together to get things done.

Some were cooking. Some were shelling beans. Some were making bricks. Some were cutting wood so that they can burn the bricks. Some were cleaning. Some were cooking. People moving everywhere.

They had a beautiful garden of tomatoes, eggplant, cassava, avocados, lemons, and coffee. She sent us home with bounty from everything that was ripe: tomatoes, eggplant, and avocadoes.

She invited us to pick coffee beans from her tree on Friday, but we could not go because of the sickness at our house. Today, she let me take some that were ripe; told me how to dry them (they are outside in the sun for the next week); and then she will help me get the beans out, roast them, and grind them.

I will REALLY appreciate my morning cup a lot more now!

Only Kylie, Alice, and I ate inside of her house. She held water over a basin so we could wash our hands, and then she served us “Mundu” food. She had gone out of her way, to cook food she thought we would like: Irish potatoes, beans, cabbage with carrots, rice with tomatoes, and a wonderful pot of chicken! Kylie and I managed pretty well with our fingers, I must say. Although, beans and rice are a little tricky. I watched Alice across from me, eat with her right hand like a pro. Kylie and I have a long way to go to perfect the “eating with the right hand” thing.

I asked her if her family was going to eat with us, and she replied that they were eating cassava, cassava flour, and chicken later. She even sent ALL the leftovers home with us. I guess “Mundu” food is not much to their liking.

We had our team leader over for dinner tonight since his wife is out of town, and we ate it all again. Yum!

Let me insert here that my team leader’s wife once told me that on Saturday’s they sometimes take all the leftovers, mix them together, and have a meal.

I was secretly telling myself that that would never happen at my house.

Silly me.

I’ve done it twice this week already, and it’s been good.

With no microwave to heat things up, rice and cabbage become a combined stir-fry, or rice and a zucchini/tomato/onion concoction heats up great together. Presto. New meal.

I’ve also never been a cook-from-scratch kind of person. I always follow a recipe.

In two weeks, I’ve been transformed. Each night I will just start throwing things together. It’s working out great, and I have no idea what I’m doing.

My meals are a lot less complicated than they were in the States, and they contain a lot fewer dishes. It’s hot in my kitchen for one thing. For another thing, we don’t have room for leftovers, and it would seem silly to cook a feast of three or more dishes, when my nextdoor neighbors can only afford posho (grits).

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