Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicken & Rice

I may never look at chicken and rice the same way again…

During formation, you spend a lot of time trying to learn as much as you can about the area you’re going into. When I thought I was going to Kenya, I did extensive research into customs, locations, past times, and food. I mean, come on, everyone wants to know what kinds of foods are available. Anyway, the reason for my post…

I have had my very first home cooked Cameroonian dinner, and I don’t think my life will ever be the same.

I left the Newburn’s house early this afternoon with the intention of rearranging the ten…or a million…chairs in my living room before firing up the gas stove to make spaghetti sauce. It’s easy. I have the ingredients. It will feed me for a few days. When I was thinking about it this morning it was a no brainer!

I’ve been home maybe ten minutes when someone knocks on my door. Huh? Someone at my door? Okay… The woman standing at my door has a broad smile and is wearing an apron.  She introduces herself as the school nurse for the school I am teaching at. She asks how I am settling in, and I was frank with her.  The market is overwhelming. I’ve only been here a week, and I am still trying to get used to the altitude. She laughed lightly and told me that she would gladly accompany me to the market so I had a friend and would get fair prices. Thank you, God, for sending Josepha to me!

The next question out of her mouth threw me a little. “What do you have for dinner?” I didn’t know if I should be making her some, but if she wanted to eat, I would gladly share. I told her I was making pasta and a tomato sauce, and her smile fell. Okay… Her look morphed to the ‘mom look’…you know, the look moms get when they find out their child has spent the last semester of college surviving on ramen noodles and fast food. “I am making chicken and rice. Is it okay if I bring you some?” 

Um, duh! Pros: I don’t have to cook, a Cameroonian meal that isn’t a fish head and flayed heart, and a really good friend to have. Cons:  none that I can see.  She returned to work, promising to be back after she cooked.

Just before seven my doorbell rings, and there is Josepha, a smile on her face and a bag in her hand. I offer her tea or water, but she declines. I can understand. She hasn’t really been home since she left for six o’clock mass this morning. With a hug, she walks out but not before promising me something.

“This weekend I will make my traditional meal. You will try it.” SCORE!

I open up the bag expecting a little rice and a little chicken, and that’s it. Let me tell you… The pan of rice is more than I can eat in three sittings (i.e. breakfast and dinner tomorrow…heck yes) and the pan of chicken…Oh the chicken. So the closest I can probably relate to it would be a mix between masala and mamou. Maybe I should explain mamou…it’s a Cajun sauce made with more butter than should be legal, garlic, peppers, chicken, etc. It’s a little slice of Cajun heaven.
Josepha’s chicken had green beans, carrots, onions, garlic, tantalizing spices, tomato… Oh my word. It was awesome. And the best part: It will still be awesome when I reheat it tomorrow.

Have I already thanked God for her? If not. THANK YOU!

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