Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cooking tips

Mac & cheese made with Bongu cheese wedges.
I’ve been posting photos of my cooking creations on facebook, proud that I’ve been able to eeek out actual meals such as oatmeal and coffee for breakfast.  I don’t like to cook, and this is the first year I’ve had to make all my meals myself here in Haiti.  And I haven’t braved the outdoor market yet to buy veggies and fruit on my own.  Instead I pay the family below to buy them for me.  So managing to cook up some veggies and have them with ramen noodle soup seemed worthy of a facebook post.

My friend Juanita said I should put together a cook book.  Here is a cookbook published by a Haitian woman who lives just a mere 40 miles away from Juanita in Kansas City.  And this American couple has posted recipes.  So instead, here is a list of cooking tips for the inexperienced blan in Haiti.

An over abundance of fresh produce.
1.  After 5 days of not eating fruits and veggies go ahead and ask a Haitian to buy them for you.
2.  Then ask the person to not buy so many perishable fruits at once.
3.  Don’t try to eat all the fruit in a couple days just to keep it from going bad.
4.  Haitian matches burn rapidly – be quick with lighting the burners.
5.  Don’t forget to flip on the propane tank switch before lighting the match to light the burner.
6.  When asking for matches in the grocery store by trying to describe in broken Creole what they’re used for, don’t be surprised if the clerk instead gives you bacon.
7.  Set the legs of a table in bowls of water to keep ants off it, and store all your food there.
8.  Put unused avocado in the fridge rather than this table to keep your cat from getting it.
9.  Crack eggs into individual containers so you don’t get a bad one ruining the food you are preparing.
10.  When making hot chocolate, first dissolve the powdered milk in (safe) cold (= room temp) water rather than dumping it into the boiling water where it just clumps up. 
11.  Serious safety tip – rinse all dishes and fruits and veggies in chlorinated water.
12.  Then saute and boil the heck out of your veggies to make sure they're safe to eat.
Discovering why one ant-proofing water bowl kept drying up faster than the others.

Bongu powdered milk, Haitian Rebo coffee, oatmeal, and tropical almonds.
Ramen noodles in sauteed onion and green pepper, with boiled carrots and potatoes.

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