There is no love sincerer than the love of food. ~ George Bernard Shaw
One of the better ways to get to know a new culture is by getting to know their food. In Kenya I did just that. One doesn’t travel far from home to try the things they already know. One travels to see, try and taste new things….and I did.
My time in Kenya was nothing short of a permanent foodgarsm in my mouth. I had never had such divine tasting yet simple food in my life. The samoosas I had there are unrivalled by all other samoosas I have ever tasted. The choma sausage (a simple grilled sausage prepared on an open barbecue stand on the roadside) was a little piece of heaven. I was obsessed with it. I bought one every chance I got. I feel hungry just thinking about it.
Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible. ~ Dorothy Draper
I love bread and the bread there was delicious. Nothing like the bread I’m used to. There were so many variations and I indulged in as much of it as I possibly could. Not once did I regret a choice. some of it was sweet, some buttery, some of it was milky….. I enjoyed it all. I also shamelessly indulged at every house I visited (Nikki, Ciiru, Naaman and Jose….yes I finished your bread lol).
The tea……. I can’t even begin to do it justice. They have tea masala over there (spice for tea). Its magic. Nikki would never just make tea. She brewed it. She would grind ginger etc….it was a process and her process filled the house with a tantalising aroma. Suffice it to say I came home with just shy of a thousand teabags….. (yes. I’m serious).
I also tried food I already know but prepared in an entirely new fashion courtesy of my hostess who is an excellent cook. Chapati, Ugali (also known as pap or sadza depending on which country you are in), skuma wiki (Cale in English), plantain, rice, her version of chicken curry, goat (which is very popular in Kenya) to name a few…… even her green salad was different and the difference in taste blew my mind. It felt sinful that food should taste so good.
If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony ~ Fernand Point
She did just that. I am forever grateful to her and to all of my friends for the experience and I hope I can be half the host that they all were when they visit. In the meantime I’m seriously brushing up my cooking skills. I clearly don’t know half as much as I thought I did 🙂 The food experience is probably one of the things I will miss the most about Kenya. What amazes me even more is that for the locals, its just ordinary food.
When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be. ~ Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009