Thursday, August 7, 2014

Welcome to My Kitchen

First of all, unrelated to my kitchen, this is the living room after the kids have cleaned it up.  Not quite as realistic, but probably how it would look if you came to visit!  

...and the dining room.

Okay, so onto my kitchen.  

I admit, I had some culture shock about this in the last three weeks.  I had forgotten how much time I spend in the kitchen.  
I spend
a
lot 
of 
time
in the kitchen.

In the States, people asked me all the time how we eat in Tanzania.  I would usually tell them that we eat similarly to how we eat in the States, but it's just is a whole lot more work.  Yet, somehow I had forgotten how much work it really is.  

So.  Let me tell you about my life in the kitchen.

One side of my kitchen.  It's not too different than what you are used to, except my sink is extremely small and my cupboards often have ants, cockroaches, and geckos in them--no matter how clean or how careful I am.  

and the other side of the kitchen.  

The fridge is small but I have a deep freezer.  I freeze almost anything I can.  This is because in our frequent power outages, I lose stuff in the fridge, but the freezer usually does okay for up to 12 hours without power.  I also try to bake in bulk.

My stove and oven are both gas, which is excellent because they are not affected by the electricity.  I buy gas in large canisters and hook them up to the stove, like you would for your barbecue.  

This is our water filter.  It ain't a Brita.  We aren't filtering for taste; we're filtering for giardia and cholera.  

I was out today and stopped at a roadside stand for produce....which is one of my most favorite parts about living here.  Those black things in the back?  Giant avocados.  Mmmmm.....   All produce is amazing here, because it's mostly homegrown. (But definitely not organic.  Pretty sure organic food is a first-world privilege.)

...aaaand this is how I bring home eggs.  Remarkably enough, they rarely break.  

This my pantry, and these are the ingredients I have to work with.  Packaged food is available but extremely expensive.  Cereal is about $8-$10 a box.  Lunch meat is $5 a package (and rather disgusting).  So we don't buy those things.  No meals are quick and easy.  Everything, everything--breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has to be prepared.  But I have loved the challenge of learning to cook.  In our early years here, we ate a lot of omelets for dinner.  I've come a long way since then!  

For example, today we had oatmeal and zucchini bread for breakfast.  We finished the zucchini bread, so later today I will make about three large loaves of banana bread.  For lunch we had spaghetti with the sauce I had made last week and frozen.  

Dinner will be burritos.  I have the beans in the crock pot, and before dinner, I will shred the cheese, make the salsa and guacamole, and fry the meat.  It's actually one of our easier meals because it just uses ground beef, instead of other meats that have to be cooked forever to be edible.  

Tortillas were made today by Esta.  This is Esta.  
(She has a terrific smile; I just can't get her to smile for the camera.)

Esta is a fixture in my kitchen and our lives.  She has worked for me for seven years and is in our home 5 days a week.  She keeps me sane and allows me to have some ministry outside of my home.  She cleans the floors which are dirty every day from the open windows and dirt roads, she hangs my clothes out to dry and irons them, she makes tortillas and cuts up mangoes.  She is my friend and part of our family.  Like having a gardener live on our property, having a house worker is also expected here.  

You put us on your refrigerator; we put you on ours.  Keep those Christmas cards coming.  

And please, come hang out with me in my kitchen sometime!  

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