25 January 2006

Habari nzuri na chakula (Good news and food)

Hi all,I haven't had any great adventures, but I wanted to say hello. Most of you know about the organization I've been working on with professors and students at school and I have good news to report....looks like we finally got a large sum of money so this summer you'll very likely have to check back here again to get more reports from Jen in TZ. :)

I think for today’s news I'll tell you about the food here, not the weird meat I have to eat, but the daily menu (it doesn't change very much). Most often, I use my hands to eat; sometimes I use a spoon, that is just the way it is done.

Breakfast - Chai (black tea, not like our "Chai" in the states). Juice, fruit (usually pineapple and bananas, sometimes mango and/or papaya), white bread toasted just enough to make it hard with peanut butter, a hard boiled egg, and breakfast chapati (which is sort of like creeps, only without anything on it). The juice, chapati, and egg every day are because I'm still a "guest" in some senses. The kids only eat bread and chai for breakfast during the week.

Lunch/Dinner - They serve the same meals for both, although not in the same day. The meals almost always contain a starch and then a sauce. The starches are in order of frequency: ugali (a flour-water mixture that is very dense, almost tasteless and you ball it up to use to pick up the accompanying food), rice, spaghetti noodles, chapatti (sort of like Indian fry bread/naan, only not crispy), white bread, chips (fries).

The sauces are some mixture of veggies and spices (although not spicy), most often with peas, carrots, onion and a few tomatoes (this is the only thing served with the spaghetti noodles). Sometimes the sauce is entirely different and has ndizi (banana) and some veggies (served with bread). They don’t use sweet bananas, rather one more like a plantain that sort of acts like a potato would in our meals. Sometimes, instead of a veggie sauce, we have beans, some sort of red/brown bean; often with coconut in the bean mixture (I love the beans here!).

There are two meals that are served on their own. A corn/bean dish called makande that is common with the Wachaga people (the ethnic group of my host family) and pilao, which is best described as something close to fried rice.

For every meal we also have some sort of cooked greens, most often spinach. We also usually have fruit, the same as for breakfast and now that avocados are ripe, we have been eating those too. Finally, we have chai again before bed.

Of course, this is the vegetarian version of the food here. They would add meat to some of the dishes (esp. the ndizi and pilao).


Anonymous Jonathan Byrne said...

That food actually sounds pretty good. What kind of spices do they typically use? Is their food sweet, salty, hot, sour, etc?

9:48 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

The food isn't very spicy. They add salt to a lot of things, but usually after it is cooked, they add it individually (thank goodness, I'm not a salt fan). The food is pretty good, it just gets old after a while.

10:55 AM  

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