Friday, May 2, 2008

What a normal day's meals might be like for us

We actually eat a lot of local foods here and the tropical fruit here is good and cheap (at least compared to prices in the states from what I hear). So it would not be easy, but I will try to give you an idea for our weekdays:


fruit such as:
pineapple, papaya (called paw paw here), bananas, and now mangoes (back in season - yeah!)
oatmeal with honey, or just fruit mixed in (see above list) or maybe raisins if I have some
or maybe homemade granola
local foods maybe: "koko" (a very thick millet drink with ginger we sweeten with honey)
bread with "kosi" (fried bean and onion patties - see photo below)


(usually leftovers from breakfast or supper the night before for me, daughter just turned 2 is still nursing and eats some foods that I eat)
My husband & son eat on the road at the local "chop" stands (places to eat prepared food - like having a take out on the street - sometimes they even have benches to sit at to eat right away. They might have:
rice and roasted or boiled groundnuts (peanuts)
or grilled plantain (cooking bananas, see photo below of woman selling raw plantains in the market)

or "red red" (a white bean - like black eyed peas - with ripe plantains and red palm oil and a cassava root product called gari)
or "banku" (a cooked and stirred cornmeal dish) with a hot chili and onion sauce
or "wakye" (a bean and rice dish)
or "kenkey" (a cornmeal dish that is firmer than banku packed in banana leaves or corn husks)- hubby likes this if he can get a vegetarian stew like "okro" (okra) or "garden egg" (eggplant) stew
or sometimes fried yam (a very large white flesh root that is like a very dry white potato) with hot chili and onion sauce


it may be some food as listed for Lunch or:
boiled yam (makes a wonderfully easy vegan mashed "potato" with a stew or vegan gravy)
or boiled plantain with a stew or stir fried vegetables
or "soya" kebabs (tofu cubes with very spicy coating and onions between, see photo below)

or other more "American" food that I can buy at certain stores (can get pasta, make pizza, etc...)
or rice with lots of veggies and some raw food like: a salad - often made with cabbage, carrots, onion -slaw or cucumbers, avocado (called pear here), tomatoes


homemade popcorn, homemade cookies, fruit (& the occasional apple - but those are imported and are getting expensive here - versus a pineapple we can buy for about 50-70 US Cents!), maybe some plantain chips sold on the street (see photo below - The darker ones are not burnt, they are made with ripe plantain and are actually naturally sweeter than the more popular light colored ones in the foreground that are usually salted.)

or occasionally "kelewele" (fried ripe plantains with ginger and chile pepper seasoning, see photo below)


water, water, and more water (up to a gallon each day for each of us),
the occasional fresh pineapple juice,
maybe a fresh young coconut off the street (see photo below - yes, that's a machete he's using to cut while you wait-you might even get a straw so you don't get it all over you...and then you can scrape off the coconut meat after they crack it open for you).

I hope this gives you an idea. In Africa, there is hardly a typical day. Just because I list those things we might eat doesn't mean that they are ideal for nutrition. Just like other families trying to do better health wise and in their diet, we are no exception. I am trying to get more smoothies in our diet and greens too. So that is what I hope to accomplish. I love being able to eat local produce here that is good for you. We actually have a mango tree in our "yard" that has small mangoes they use here to drink the juice (very stringy) and they are good. We also have a palm nut tree (where red palm oil comes from and the more refined palm kernel oil comes from - see photo below to see harvested palm nuts that have been boiled to make red palm oil) next to the mango tree. And papaya trees next door. =)

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