Wednesday, October 16, 2013

You ate what?

So, I've had the opportunity now to travel to a number of different places, and most recently, some more far flung corners of the earth. Lots of people ask (and by lots of people, I mean mostly my parents) ask "what is the food like there?"

Food is so closely tied to culture, to family, to tradition, that it isn't surprising that lots of people ask about the food. To answer the questions, here are some snippets of emails I sent my parents about the food during my travels. Bon appetit.

Kenya

Day 5: Food is pretty good - they don't use salt in breads, which is interesting (read, bland). Sunday morning there were chicken gizzards covered by tomato slices and cilantro as part of breakfast. I didn't realize it was gizzard until I bit in... I've also had chicken (maybe pigeon? - very small) drummettes for breakfast, and goat several times for lunch or dinner. I like goat - its like lamb, but tougher (thank goodness for floss!) They also make something called uglai, which is basically mamaliga without the salt, or other flavoring. Add salt or use it to eat food, and its good.  Intestines are doing fine and the water purifier is working like a charm - the hotel also provides bottled water however.

Day 7: I meant that the bread products didn't have salt - or at the very least, not enough of it! I believe they use salt in other types of food. I had "lamb" for dinner tonight, which I think was mostly spiced with pepper, and I'm pretty sure was an old goat. I looked like a cow chewing cud trying to eat those little cuts of meat somehow referred to as "chops" at the hotel restaurant...

Day 16: After eating here for over two weeks, I can now definitely tell you that ostrich is better as a meat ball than a roast loin, however, goat is better as a roast loin than chunked into a stew. Crocodile can be overcooked and dry, but still tastes mostly like chicken with a vague fish finish. You can tell the difference between lamb and goat. A whole turkey on a pike will give you pause when it arrives on your plate. Ox balls (editor's note: yes, that IS what you just read) are reminiscent of tripe although not as strong but certainly something I can check off the list and not worry about having to eat again. Spinach really should not be consumed more than 7 or 8 times a week because after that it gets boring, especially creamed at breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, chicken gizzards are not an ideal breakfast meat, and bacon also comes in beef and not just pork. Lastly, the thing that is purple and white and cut like a baked potato is actually beef liver.

Ethiopia

Got to Ethiopia, and so far, no need for Cipro (knock on wood). I have no idea most of time what I'm eating, but it's tasting pretty good (although I passed on the whole fried fish with scales, fins, and eyes at lunch today). (editor's note: I never did figure out what the heck I ate, other than injira, just about the whole time I was there, but man is Ethiopian food tasty!)

Bolivia

Day One: Got to Bolivia just fine. Flight landed at 3:30 and got to bed about 5am, but today was a nothing day on the schedule, so we were able to recover. Had fried duck for lunch, which is a specialty around here. (editor's note: not kidding, the restaurant was named Cua-Cua, just like the sound a duck makes.)

Day Three: Cheese and pastries for breakfast, along with coffee that was so thick I could have painted walls with it. (editor's note: turned out, we were supposed to cut the coffee with either water or milk. Opps.)

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