Monday, 12 March 2012

Learning to Survive in the Kitchen

The culinary arts have never been produced with any kind of ease in the Broce kitchen, but rather, we find that the construction of a meal is something of a struggle. Our hands do not seem to be blessed with the kind of skill necessary to create delicious masterpieces, or even edible mediocrity. So moving to a country that does not sell the foods we are accustomed to presented a much larger challenge to our family than it might to an American family that is more comfortable in the kitchen. However, we were determined (but mostly forced) to push past our boundaries and try something new.

One of the most common foods consumed here in East Africa is called chapati. It originally came from India but because the ingredients are so simple and relatively inexpensive it has entered the homes of most Ugandans. Chapati can be compared to a tortilla, with thicker, more dense qualities. My parents first encountered this dish on their short-term mission trips to Kenya six years ago when it was served with nearly every meal, which is also common routine here in Uganda.

Of course moving to Uganda meant mom had to try it in our own kitchen, so she quickly put me to work. Turning to the internet for assistance, I found a YouTube video made by an Australian name Kurma who explains the chapati process in detail. So I tried it with my own hands and produced what you see here.

Then we brought in the professionals.

Maria, Dorothy and Jeanne, three ladies who attend our church, were kind enough to come over for dinner and teach us how to prepare a typical Ugandan meal. We had posho (a sort of tasteless, thick cream of wheat, if you will, that can be molded with the fingers), beef stew, and chapati. 

This is Dorothy. She is incredibly friendly and loves to laugh. Plus she makes awesome food.


The entire process took about two and a half hours, but I'm sure they slowed it down immensely for our sake. The beef stew, which we used to flavor the posho, was easily the most amazing stew I have ever had the privilege to taste. I meant to take pictures of the finished product, really I did, but by the time it was actually finished I was so incredibly hungry I couldn't be bothered to remember. 

My apologies.

When the meal was over it was already dark and so my parents took them home. These ladies always look very nice and obviously care about and put effort into their appearance. So when my parents arrived at their house they were surprised to see the living conditions. 

There are five women living here. The door on the left belongs to them; the right side of the building belongs to another family. It's nothing more than one small room. There is no electricity or running water and they cook outside over coals.

Once again we were reminded that we are living in a third world country. Sometimes we forget; we live in such a nice part of the city and have a great apartment. However, while in our eyes these people have so little, they still thank God for what they do have. But poverty is still running rampant, and Uganda still needs help. Please don't forget this country in your prayers.

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