Monday, October 24, 2011

Africa to America: Food

I won't lie, right now I want to pull my hair out during meal times! Malakai will eat just about anything we put in front of him so when he cried after trying a Mushroom soup this weekend I thought, ok, it really IS gross. Amiya on the other hand has inherited her mother's picky eater taste-buds. This must be what my parents felt like trying to feed me (I was always that kid at school or the baby sitter's house who was STILL in the kitchen because I wouldn't eat something off my plate).

As illustrated below, on the Left is Malakai eating a tortilla filled with rice, corn and chicken --all things they have loved eating wrapped up together. On the Right is Amiya, she has taken a couple bites out of the tortilla shell, unwrapped it to eat some rice, picked out a couple kernels of corn and I might have crammed a piece of chicken in her mouth  as I bribed encouraged her with a cookie to follow. Recently I caught her giving some of her food to our dog while I was turned helping Malakai!

 Let's back up to those wonderful days in Uganda...They have the most delicious Pineapples, Bananas and fresh fruits and vegetables. I have never liked Pineapple but when the kids' grandmother gave us some, I knew I had to try it-wow it was so sweet and juicy! Forget about trying to remember what you should & shouldn't eat in a different country-I was NOT going to pass it up!

While we were there, we had a couple opportunities to eat a local meal and despite my picky eater taste-buds, I don't mind embracing a new culture which includes eating their cuisine. Besides, this wasn't about me, if I was going to have any understanding of the birthplace of our children in the short amount of time we were there, I needed to do this and honestly the food was pretty good!

Both meals we had, looked exactly like the food in the picture below (which was cooked at the grandmothers). If I remember correctly, it includes Matoke (boiled & mashed bananas or plantains), Ugali (flour & water), cabbage, sweet potatos, rice and a stew like of ground nuts (the purple stuff on top).

 The kids LOVED it and I mean went to town cleaning their plates. As you can see, no silverware was used, she had 2 forks which she allowed Wes & I to use.  

 Malakai enjoying some Matoke

Sugar Cane, Tea, Sweet rolls and Passion Fruit that the Grandmother gave us. I haven't been able to find Passion Fruit here yet but apparently there were 2 kinds and the kids LOVED it

The most delicious bananas we have ever eaten. And let's be honest, this lady must have an extremely strong neck!

 Roasted Bananas (they eat a LOT of bananas)!

When we first got home we were GREATLY blessed with a multitude of people who brought us some meals. This was amazing not only from a convenience standpoint but mainly because people also  things that I would never think to cook that early on, especially as we were learning and trying to figure out what they like. They ate everything except for the peas and Mac N Cheese.

One evening, someone brought us a roasted chicken and sweet potatoes. I started to cut the meat off the bone and cut up the sweet potato because that's what moms do, right? Then it hit me, these kids don't have knives and butter and brown sugar to fill their sweet potatoes. We pulled a leg off the chicken for each child and placed the sweet potato on their plate and just wanted to see what happened next (yes, I cringed with fear of them choking on a bone).

Malakai immediately took a chunk out of the end of his sweet potato and lit up once he realized what it was. He ate every piece of meat off of the leg (including that chewy grizzle part) leaving only the bone! Amiya split her sweet potato in half and sucked the inside out of the skin/shelling. She also went to town on the chicken leg and ate all the meat off of it leaving only the bone (and no choking!). They seemed so excited to be eating this meal, there was something so familiar about it to them and ate every bit of it with their hands.

I took the kids to Krispy Kreme about 2 weeks after we got home.  My car needed some work done so while we waited we ran over for some donuts.  It was interesting trying to teach them to stand in line and not eat all the crumbs off the floor. They loved the donuts and added a new word to their English vocabulary! Once we were done eating Malakai looked at me and said "momma mo" while doing his sign for "more." It was so sweet and I told him we were all done to which he responded with his bottom lip stuck out big and a little whimper. I set him on the ground to clean him up then got Amiya out of her high chair to clean her up.  When I was all done cleaning Amiya up I looked over to find Malakai standing in line holding the hand of a teenage girl, obviously trying to get another donut! 

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