Where’s the beef?

4 February 2012

Ok, so this is the big day: my first time in almost 14 years cooking (red) meat. I’ve been eating meat since I got here (no, I haven’t had any digestive problems as a result). It’s fairly ubiquitous, for one thing, and also it’s sometimes the only source of iron, green vegetables not being as easy to come by as you would want.

Mama Dora, my neighbor and Alison’s sister-in-law, took me to the market today. It was great. I’ve been going all the way into town to buy food, but was sure there must be somewhere closer. There is. It’s a big, twice-weekly market a few villages over.  They had all the vegetables, fruits, bananas, well, all the food and all the usual stuff. Plus lots of clothing stores and stalls and tailors and so on. I bought some beef. Often here, the meat you’re served seems like they just took the animal and chopped it up and you’re lucky if you got some actual meat, but Mama Dora asked the butcher to give me a nice piece. I also got a bunch of vegetables, including some Chinese greens, lots of potatoes, and also some ginger, because you must cook the meat with ginger, ‘to make it palatable.’

So tonight’s menu will feature beef seasoned with onions, ginger, a little cinnamon, and maybe some tomato and grated carrot to create a small amount of gravy, served with chips. Tomorrow I will cook it will plenty of gravy (always carrot, tomato, and onion) and have it with rice to soak up the sauce.

I was very happy about going to the market. Mama Dora is sweet and helpful and could be a friend! And speaking with her is a good opportunity to practice Swahili, since she doesn’t speak English. I’m very glad to have her help getting food and just spending time with her.
Her kids were here for a bit, playing with this and that. Even simple things like staplers and blank paper are things they don’t have in their normal lives, so they play with them. And of course my camera, which makes me nervous, but hey ho.

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