The food post
Now that it has been almost three weeks since we arrived in Cameroon, I’ve tried most of the varieties of food, and am beginning to enjoy them more and more. In this post I’m going to focus on what we are eating, and how we are eating it.
Every day here starts with breakfast, just as every other good day does. For me, my family prepares an omelet with some simple veggies with either a loaf of french bread, fried potatoes (very similar to french fries), or fried plantains (My favorite). They also serve me a “tea”, which is hot Ovaltine. We’ve had coffee once and it was instant, which isn’t quite the same as what I’m used to. People here also put healthy amounts of sugar and milk in every morning drink, which I refrain from. Other breakfasts also include spreading avocado or Bambi chocolate of bread.
Lunch and dinner are usually similar meals, and although there is not the variety there is back home, everything is always fresh. Most meals are served with a vegetable type dish with either chicken, fish, or meat (beef), and a starch. So far I’ve experienced boiled Yams and cabbage, boiled plantains and dula, maize fufu and huckleberry, water fufu and eru, rice and stew or beans, okra soup and water fufu, plantain and huckleberry stew, and other stews which contained varying combinations of potatoes, fish, vegetables, and other things. After dinner my family usually serves some fruit, like watermelon or bananas.
The veggies are prepared to a consistency similar to creamed spinach, and are meant to be mixed with whatever they are served with. For those of you who aren’t familiar with fufu, it’s a soft doughy type food, boiled in a bag and eaten by hand with a veggie. The meat, chicken, and fish are served on bone and the carving is left up to the individual, which can take some practice. There are also parts served that I’m not used to, such and beef intestine, beef skin, and fish eyes (which I have not had the pleasure of trying yet, but Eric and Shannon have). Pepper is also added to pretty much everything, and it can get hot.
As far as eating goes, forget what your mother told you, people here eat fast and with BIG bites. It took about a week for us to finally get the hang of this as we were finishing meals slower then everyone else around us. It’s a bit weird at first, but personally I’m a fan of the big bites and fast eating. Not only do they eat fast, but they eat everything. I’ve never seen a chicken bone picked cleaner then the first day we were here. I’ve even heard of people eating the bones when they are baked soft, but I have yet to see it. We also eat at varying times. I haven’t yet sat down as a whole family and had a meal together. We keep the TV on and eat when we are hungry, another easy habit to get into. Finally, there are toothpicks given out at the end of every meal whenever at a restaurant, and most take advantage of it.
Overall, I’m eating a lot, and I’m eating well. My only mission now is to not eat to much and move around to little to prevent getting pudgy. Tonight should be a good meal as well as we are headed to the Chief’s palace to present our progress on the Water Project. We have some good material and made some nice looking brochures. The last time we visited there was a spread of just about every dish :)