I did not go hungry
May 6th, 2015 by Racquel
Posted in Uncategorized|
Hello! I am safely back in the US for a week now. I am already missing some of the amazing food that I was able to eat in Cameroon. The area of Cameroon where I was is a very fertile land. Crops grow and they grow abundantly. During the dry season there are some challenges and crops can start to suffer if the dry season persists too long. However, in my time there I did not see any children or adults literally starving to death, as is the case in many other parts of Africa. I am very thankful for the abundance of food God has provided His people.
I did not expect to have such amazing food before I arrived. On the initial trek to the hospital from the large city our driver pulled over to a roadside stand. There we ate pineapple, small papaya, and mango. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the most delicious tasting fruit I had ever had. The fruits were truly ripe, having been ripened on the plant, and the difference was clear in the flavor. We have some good fruit in America, and I have had the pleasure of tasting several fruits and vegetables in South and Central America. Honestly, none of those compared in the sweetness, juiciness, and richness of taste to these fruits. What a delight!
Later on in the drive we stopped again for some bananas. Once again, I was completely taken aback. I did not think bananas could taste better than they already do. I took one bite of this Cameroonian banana and I was hit almost like an avalanche of richness and of flavor. I could not believe that this is what a banana ought to taste like. Such buttery, sweet, almost nutty flavors filling each bite. I knew at that point that I was not going to be going hungry for lack of good food here.
One final fruit/vegetable that I must speak of. The avocado of Cameroon, I imagine, is the avocado that God grows in Heaven. They are large avocados, some weighing almost a pound alone, and they have a brighter green skin than Haas avocados. The flesh is a pure delicacy. Completely ripe, no part too ripe, beautiful creamy green, with a flavor that lulls you into bite after bite after bite. I could certainly live off of Cameroonian avocados for the rest of my life. A friend at the hospital actually gave me 3 of his avocados that grow from the tree his wife and he own and those 3 were more delicious than even the fresh ones from the local market.
At the rest home where I stayed there are three woman that run the home, keep it clean, and cook the meals. Rose is the head “inn keeper”, then Jenesia and Magdalene. Philip also helps keep the rest home clean and functioning. These women are wonderful and they became my family. They are also amazing cooks and prepared so many delicious meals for me, both traditional African food and Western food. My favorite dish of all of them is called “foo foo corn and djama-djama” (I don’t know the proper spelling). The foo foo is similar to polenta. It is made of corn meal and the finished consistency carries a shape but is malleable in one’s hands (which is how they eat it). The djama-djama is a green leafy vegetable that is cooked in onions, tomatoes, and spices. It is similar to baby spinach but has a softer consistency and different flavor. On top of it goes a tomato sauce, which is made of stewed tomatoes and spices that are blended into a gravy-like liquid. Learning to eat it all with my hands was interesting and much harder than perhaps would be expected but I started to get better by the end of my time there.
My second favorite meal is a cabbage dish with “igusee”, which is boiled pumpkin seeds blended into a paste. The cabbage is sliced and sauteed with spices and then other vegetables are added before the igusee is added at last. Once again, the cabbage has a delicious flavor, and the dish as a whole has some unique and exciting qualities. The remaining traditional dish that I had is called “Ndole”. This is another green vegetable that they call “bitter leaf” made with peanuts. The leaves are boiled down and then have all of the water squeezed out of them. The peanuts are boiled and then blended before being added to the leaves. When it is finished it is like creamed spinach but with no extra fluid. It is typically served with boiled plantains and has a flavor that is quite different to Western flavors, but which I enjoyed.
Please forgive my lack of pictures. I am having some technical difficulties with that. I could go on and on about the food, but I hope this gives you a taste of the dishes I was able to enjoy while there. ~Racquel