Monday, November 30, 2009
new things . . .
There are LOTS of new things in our life since we arrived in Kenya. Some are wonderful, some I'm not too sure about. One of the things that has lots of newness involved is food! Everyone is always curious about what we eat so I thought I'd fill you in on that. Above are some samoosas (the triangle that is filled with meat, cabbage and carrots) and spring rolls which are kind of a cross between what we call a spring roll and an egg roll. They are filled with lots of carrots and cabbage. They are delicious! I have a lady that makes them for us and we can throw them into the freezer and pull them out quickly and heat them up for lunch. It is almost our only option for a "fast food" meal.
Cooking is all from scratch which takes a bit more planning and time but overall it hasn't been too bad. I took some serious heat for never have made biscuits before since I'm from the South but I have to admit most of the biscuits I consumed came from Chickfila or Cracker Barrel! I haven't actually made biscuits yet since baking is a bit tricky at this altitude (7500ft) but I have made homemade banana and zucchini bread in addition to a special high altitude chocolate chip cookie recipie that turned out well. Otherwise I have made things like vegetable beef soup, chicken soup, potato soup (do you see a trend?), chicken and rice, zucchini/chicken/rice and (hold on to your seats) chicken enchiladas. What are enchiladas without chips and salsa? Well I decided to make those too. I cut up some tortillas (that are made freshly around here and are plentiful), fried them, added a little salt and voila . . . chips! I chopped up some tomatoes, red onion added a salsa seasoning packet that I brought from the U.S. and we were in business. The kids loved them. I thought they were OK. They will quench my Mexican cravings which are sure to come! Luckily I can find enchilada sauce in Nairobi so the enchiladas were easy!
We've actually had very little "Kenyan" food since we've been here. But we are managing in the kitchen pretty well. Rhett comes home for lunch each day so I have to plan to have lunch and dinner each day which is a change. I'm used to just grabbing something simple but I have to come up with something that has a bit more substance for him. We do a lot of soup for lunch and I throw in a samoosa for him. The same lady that makes the samoosas makes pizza crusts so I can make a pizza pretty quickly for lunch too.
Another new thing around our home is chai. Chai (tea) is a staple of the Kenyan culture and I've grown to really appreciate it. At 10am sharp everyone is Kenya stops what they are doing, takes a break and enjoys a cup of chai. It is not the Indian spicy tea we call "chai" in the U.S. It is a black tea that they mix with a lot of milk and sugar. This mid morning break is really nice unless you are a doctor trying to do something emergently in the hospital and everyone is at chai. I've heard this can be a big frustration for expat physicians trying to practice here. Emergency C-section? But it is chai. Stat Lab? But it is chai. You can see how this cultural difference would be difficult to understand. For me at home it is so nice - Claire even drinks it and looks forward to it each day.
This may put yard work in perspective for you! This is how our grass gets cut! This guy just took this big machete and started hacking. He was coming really clost all of his limbs which made me nervous but he didn't seem to notice too much. He picked up all of the clipping and bagged them and carried them off.
Here is a shot of those chips and salsa! Claire has asked that we have them at her princess birthday party in addition to pizza and pink cup cakes!
Not to be forgotten . . . sweet little Gus. Don't be fooled. He won't eat anything. What every I can manage to squeeze into his mouth gets "raspberried" right back at me. Sometimes I can get him to take some banana or avacado off my finger but he is not having a spoon anywhere near him unless it is in his hand. Sigh. I think this may be a sign of his independent spirit that we will see more of in the future. The rule-breaker himself.