“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

The morning is warm and sunny at 46˚, but I’m not taken in by by the blue sky and the bright, squid your eyes sun. I checked the weather report which says rain and snow and a low of 19˚. I will not be going anywhere today. I won’t even get dressed. I will brush my teeth, wash my face and hands quite a few times and sit on the couch and read or mindlessly watch TV. I’ll probably end up getting restless and dust my way through the dining room and living room with my favorite dust cloth, my handy sweatshirt sleeve.

When I was in Ghana, I needed items not sold in the market where I got my fruits, veggies, eggs, meat, both chicken and beef though the chickens were live, and whatever surprises I sometimes found when I wandered. Everybody knew me because I was the only white woman in town my first year in Bolga. The market sellers always wished me a good morning and addressed me as madam, the title for female teachers. In small kiosks a bit back from the street I shopped for packaged goods. I bought canned margarine mostly but canned butter for special occasions like Christmas. I have no idea the shelf life of those cans. I never thought to look, but the sellers usually gave us the good stuff not because we were white but because we’d shop there again. Coffee came in cans but it was instant. Milk came in cans but only evaporated milk even though there were cows. The bread was amazing. It was sugar bread and was always sold uncut. It made the tastiest toast.

In Ghana there are chop bars and spots. Chop bars are mostly hole in the wall eating stops. In Bolga, chop bars ringed the lorry park. We had a favorite, and on Sundays we often bought take out dinner. That meant we brought a pot with a cover, filled it with Sunday dinner and strapped it to the back of our bikes hoping it wouldn’t spill. I remember fufu with light soup and goat though once in awhile it was chicken. Spots are bars. During training in Koforidua starting week 7, we used to meet at a spot on a corner of the main road. We’d pool our scant daily allowances and buy beer. We met after dinner and sat together a long time. I remember laughing a lot and complaining a lot. They sort of went hand and hand during training.

Bill and Peg and I love Ghanaian food. Kelewele, a plantain dish, and jollof rice are easy to make here. Both are favorites of ours. I could eat jollof rice with a giant spoon as my only dish at dinner. It is the same with plantains cooked any way. They are that tasty.

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7 Comments on ““Food is our common ground, a universal experience.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    The rain must have come this morning or last night because I slept like death until 10:30 CDT. I didn’t lose an hour of sleep, I slept the same number of hours as I did yesterday. I’m glad its daylight saving time because I like having the extra hour in the evening when I can sit on my patio or go swimming in my pool when it’s warmer. The sun is trying to break through the clouds and the temperature should reach a high of 72° this afternoon.

    Did you remember to spring your clocks forward last night?

    I’m not anxious to try African cuisine. I’m not a fan of plantains nor do I like the taste of goat. Unfortunately, I have a tenderfoot pallet when it comes to peppers. Many dishes from the developing world, such as the Indian subcontinent, are too hot and spicy for my taste. I understand the reason for the over use of hot peppers was to prevent the growth of bacteria before the invention of refrigeration. Indian, Thai, Korean and Vietnamese cuisines are not to my liking unless the heat is turned way down. That includes the very hot Chinese dishes from the Hunan province. To me the overwhelming heat of the pepper nullifies the taste of any other flavors. I especially don’t like the taste of curry regardless of the heat. 🙁

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Your sun is breaking through while mine has disappeared. Whitish clouds have rolled in and have completely covered the blue and hidden the sun. I guess the forecast was right.

      The only clock I didn’t remember was the one on my thermostat but it didn’t make much difference as the house was warm when I finally rolled out of bed.

      Jollof rice has no heat. It has flavor. It is filled with flavor. Kelewele can be hot or not. I don’t tend to make it hot. Ghanaians like their food hot, but I only like it mildly hot, and they accommodated me. I never ate plantain until Ghana. I really like it in African and Caribbean cuisine. I love tostones, smashed green plantain. I even have a wooden flattener.

      I love using hot mustard with Chinese food, something I inherited from my Dad. He used so much his nose ran. I don’t use as much. I’m a curry fan. I make a great curry chicken, and it is an asked for recipe from friends. I even have curry mustard. Many dishes from India are not hot. I haven’t gone in a while, but I do like the Sunday buffet at the Indian restaurant in Hyannis. My mother even liked it and she didn’t do hot. None of the cuisines you mentioned have to be hot. I don’t like a lot of heat as I also like to taste the food, but I love a variety of cuisines. I have favorite Thai and Chinese restaurants. At both you can choose food which isn’t hot.

      The only problem I have with goat is it is so bony.

      • Bob Says:

        I like a bit of the hot mustard mixed with the Duck sauce with my Chinese egg or spring rolls. Interestingly the hot mustard that’s served with American Chinese food is really called, English Mustard in the grocery store. When I was in Southern China and in Hong Kong they never heard of the hot mustard that we’re accustomed to eating. When they served spring rolls they gave us the sweet and sour Duck sauce along with the red hot pepper flakes floating in soy sauce. Those red hot pepper flakes can blow your head off while clearing out all eight sinus cavities. 🙂

        The sun is out and I’m sitting on my patio overlooking the pool in shorts and a golf shirt as I write this post. It’s a comfy 69° with a slight breeze. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I always swirl mustard into the sauce so I can dip and get the full effect. I like spring rolls but not egg rolls. I buy Coleman’s English mustard which looks like the hot mustard from the Chinese restaurants.

        I like the soy sauce with the hot pepper flakes but very few restaurants serve it here. Once in a while I’ll find it at a Thai restaurant. I put the flakes on pizza slices but not enough to overpower the taste of the pizza.

        We had mostly sun all day. It will only get down to 27˚ so the forecast changed during the day.

  2. lilydark Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m not dealing well with the time change. You should be proud you were “Kicked” off of furbook! I wish I could go to my favorite cafe, ( which closed), and order pancakes with fresh strawberries, a double decaf, and perhaps a part of a glass of wine. At the moment my stomach couldn’t handle that.. so it is oatmeal with pineapple.
    It is raining here, so much for extra sun.
    Take Care,
    Lori and Ms. Cookie

    • katry Says:

      Lori,
      It is only a single day since the time change. Give yourselves a few more days. I’m having dinner delivered once a week. Sometimes I have breakfast for dinner.

      I’m sorry that Coffee was kicked off Facebook. That’s the only way some people seem to find my blog.

      No rain or snow here, just wind and cold!

  3. lilydark Says:

    Kat,
    But I keep seeing posts on fb…. weird.
    Lori


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