So Ive been wanting for awhile to do a post on the foods we eat. I spent a week trying to take pictures of typical meals and its been about 3 weeks waiting for internet fast enough to upload the said pictures. So at long last here is our post on food. We eat a lot of the same things over and over and although can be tempted to whine about this… we still eat better than most around us.
We have a small solar fridge which is a BLESSING. We didn’t have it for the first 7 weeks and you just never realize how amazing a fridge is until you don’t have one. Here is a picture of our fridge the day after our weekly shop. Here with the humidity without a fridge vegetables last about a day. Problematic when you can only shop once or so a week for your food. Most of our food is purchased when we take a weekly trip to the city. There are not really quick corner store options for food. We can do some shopping in the village but most times the food comes from the source to the city first and then is sent to the village so we sometimes find fresher options in the city. Also its just easier to do one big stock up for the week. Mostly our fridge is packed with vegetables, yogurt, milk and left overs we may have. There is a small freezer on the bottom that we keep some pre-made baby food, ice and some meat such as nile perch and ground beef and chicken.
Typical vegetables that can be found are: Carrots, Zucchini, butternut squash, avocados (in season), tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, garlic, green beans, peas, pumpkin & eggplant. Rarely you can find fresh cilantro sometimes broccoli and even more rarely fresh dill and only once we have found mushrooms. Lettuce is not really something that is eaten here (it looks terrible) and the spinach we know is not here either. Typically here they eat greens from plants such as pumpkins but they are more like collard greens. All vegetables have to either be peeled or washed in a solution of bleach and clean water. Thankfully we have found a natural bottle veggie wash that can be found at one store here because we are not to happy about the bleach option. We think the store is not sure what it is since it is located with the other condiments. so we are worried at times it may disappear! Ha! Oh and you can also find scrawny, whitish yellow celery (supposed to be green) at times for about $14 a bunch!!
Fruit that is available: We live in a tropical place so in season we have amazing large, beautiful tropical fruit that is very cheap! Pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit, oranges. We also have watermelons (not the same as home they are packed with seeds), bananas and Thank the Lord they import APPLES from upcountry! rarely and for the cost of your left hand you can get a small thing of strawberries.. but berries are non-existent here and sorely missed! Also things like grapes & peaches are here but not affordable and are not that great looking anyhow.
So what we eat for meals… We for the first 3-4 months ate all of our meals from what the base was providing. Breakfast is mainly bread and tea. Lunch consists of Ugahli (a play dough consistency cornmeal) and cabbage or the above mention spinach, or regularly something called dagaa (which is a watery stew of small fish kinda like minnows which is very salty) and for dinner rice and beans, rice and a scant vegetable stew called mchuzi, and sometimes a little piece of fried fish. The rice is cooked with freshly shredded coconut which gives it a nice flavor.
Traditionally the food here doesn’t contain much protein or vegetables and the vegetables it does contain are usually cooked until there is no nutritional value left in them. So we began supplementing by making one meal a day on our own adding protein and vegetables. We decided on lunch. To be honest there is not much else here to mix things up here so we do eat a lot of pasta at lunch time.. But we usually add a lot of veggies and try to add ground beef/chicken/ or fish. We also once a week get the treat of eating out and we have found some nice affordable places to get a little something different than the norm.. So here are some pictures of what we eat. Breakfast is similar we eat oatmeal, some cereals (corn flakes and a knock off cheerios) and bread most mornings so I don’t have pics of them.
Breakfast: Yogurt and cereal for the kids. Oatmeal for us.
We actually were invited to lunch at some friends from church who are Tanzanian. We were served the traditional celebration meal called pilau. Its a rice dished spiced with cinnamon and cardamom. Served usually with this tomato, cucumber salad and Mchicha (collard greens) This is pretty much what is served for every special occasion.
Dinnner was beans and rice.
fried dough called mandazi.. sometimes we slice it up.. dip it in egg and refry it making like french toast sticks. This diet is all about innovation.
lunch: tuna, spaghetti sauce and noodles
dinner: White beans and rice and a little cabbage.
Breakfast: oatmeal and coffee and juice for the kids.
Lunch: Ugahli, package indian sauce and green beans
Dinner: beans and rice
Breakfast: Fresh baked bread and jam
Lunch: noodles and sausages
Dinner: Beans and Chipatti!! (not a usual. but sometimes when there are visitors on the base we get a little switch up. Chipatti is like a thick fried tortilla) and we added some veggies.
Breakfast: corn flakes and milk, oatmeal
Lunch: Minestrone soup
Dinner: You guessed it! beans and rice! and we added the veggies
Lunch: Tuna pasta with yellow peppers and zucchini
Dinner: Mchuzi (veggie stew), rice and a piece of fried fish
Breakfast: Oatmeal and yogurt
Lunch: Day out so we had TACOS!
Coffee and a treat
Dinner: Beans and rice… back to reality haha!
Sometimes we find little gems from home that give us that warm fuzzy feeling! Ha!
So thats a little window into our daily lives here. Its been quite the change coming from America where you can pretty much eat what you want when you want and have some many amazing choices. Even being able to eat something different every night of the week for 6 months if you wanted to. Here we are thankful for provision to be able to add proteins a fruits and veggies into our diet as many here do not have that luxury. God is Good!