We’re back on our culinary adventure! If you’re just joining us, we began here. We hadn’t taken any more food trips since our actual trip to Aruba, and then I started the Eat 2 Live thing and hadn’t quite sorted out how to cook for that, and then I was just…lazy. But I’ve been in a rut, I’m through the initial 6 weeks of E2L and I think I can live a little at dinner as long as my other two meals are Spartan enough. So today, Lily drew Africa out of the cup. Whee! Off we go. So I sat down with my copy of “Global Vegetarian Cooking” that I got at the Fair Trade Fair (how crunchy am I?) and the internets and planned out our week. No spoilers. So you just get tonight.

We focused on southern Africa and started with a banana soup from Malawi, a papaya soup from South Africa, Vegetables in Coconut Milk from Congo, Coconut Rice from Mozambique, and Spicy Potatoes from Tanzania. You’re thinking, “Damn, woman, that is a lot of food.” And you are right. It is too much food. The potatoes were recalcitrant in their cooking and so came out last. They were picked at. Steve and I liked it all, even if it was a bit sweet. The banana soup was gobbled by Julianna, tolerated by Lily, and reviled by banana-hating Ben. Papaya soup was gobbled by Ben, eaten a bit by Julianna, and avoided by Lily. The veg were given “two thumbs up!!” by Julianna, disliked by Ben, hated by Lily. Rice was beloved by Ben, eaten by Julianna, picked at by a sullen Lily who was beginning to suspect a serious lack of mac and cheese in this endeavor. Potatoes, as mentioned, barely got noticed. I may die of guilt throwing away food meant to be from a place with no food. But they aren’t going to get better overnight.

Drawing the map of Africa was another of those “Huh, what do you know, so that’s where that is” experiences, as well as a “there are two Congos?” one. Steve said, “yeah, nasty civil war in the 70s, don’t you remember?” Yeah. I don’t think I had much of an African history background. But given that it IS in Africa, I imagine it was hair-curlingly grisly and vicious. Did you know there is an Equitorial Guinea as well as a Guinea? And neither of them is home to guinea pigs? Well, I knew the second part. I also did not realize that Swaziland (which I only know ANYTHING about b/c my beloved Richard E. Grant is from there) and Lesotho were islands in South Africa. See? I don’t just get an utterly filthy kitchen with every dish I own dirtied! I get to know new things!

Speaking of my dishes, Laura asked for a pic of the happy plates. I reassured her about the potential for lovely basements in the comments section, but I don’t think I can stick a photo in there. So here they are:

happy plates

These are just the wee versions, I have full sized plates, too. The mosaic-y bowl is just from the Dollar store, they matched and this lot was sadly lacking in cereal sized bowls. Apparently people in early 1960s could eat only the tiniest amount of Frosted Flakes. Otherwise they’d blow right out of their slim suits and shirtwaist dresses.

Tomorrow, we head for West Africa!