We are eating well.
Out in the villages with the teams, of course we eat very Haitian cuisine. At home, some of the missionary families that I know eat more American cuisine but at my house, my roommates have always eaten a very Haitian menu, with a few exceptions like spaghetti and a few German inspired dishes since Susanne is German. The other day, when I was leaving Madanm Moise (Madam Mo-ees) was preparing fish and there was the head of a fish lying on its side in the pot. Apparently knowing I do not care for the fish, Susanne asked Mdme Moise to prepare some kind of beef or pork something or other for me. There are a lot of rice and bean combinations (called diri- pronounced dee-ree) that we have. You’d think they’d all pretty much taste the same. But different beans get seasoned different ways which not only affects the flavor but also turns the rice a slightly different color. Or maybe they use different kinds of rice…not sure, but I think its the former. And different meat sauces are prepared to go with each of the different kinds of rice. Each meal is usually served with pickliz (A spicy coleslaw like salad make with cabbage, carrots, onions and vinegar), a cooked vegetable, a fresh vegetable if its available (like tomatoes when they’re in season), diri and the meat sauce. Water is usually served as the drink and the meal is topped off with a partial glass of juice.
I am still getting used to eating the Haitian cuisine and it will still probably be a little while before I am really used to it. There are a some things we eat that I do like. We have a mixed vegetable dish made with carrots. eggplant, okra, and some kind of root, whether its potato, milleton or something else, depending on what’s available at the market. I really like that.
When teams visit the churches, we are also fed very well. Many people come to Haiti expecting to loose weight, only to find the opposite happens. Perhaps you can see why.
Bread: The Pastor’s Wife at Picot has been to school to take some classes on baking and the bread you see here and the cake you will see below are an obvious result of this training. I have been told that often, to make things stretch, Haitians will take a recipe as is and add a good bit of extra flour resulting in very dense bread and very dense cake
Banan Pese: Twice fried plantains. Slices of plantains are squished flat, battered and fried.
And my favorite: mangos. They make delicious pretty much anything…although I am fairly sad because mango season is just about over and it will be months before they will be in season again; unless you are near Port au Prince. There is a village there that has managed to grow them most of the year round. If I go through withdrawals, I might be worth the several hour drive in.
With the help of Susanne, I made mango, pineapple, abricot jelly on Tuesday. Susanne thought I was nuts because I was excited about making jelly- but its not something I’ve ever done before and I was happy to have the experience. We made about 8 cups of the jelly so we’ll having it for a while. Good thing, too. Because it was delicious! I even made juice with some of the mango that was left over and some additional grenadia (passion fruit) and it turned out really delicious too. There just might be some domestic possibilities to me, afterall! But don’t write home just yet. We should probably see if it lasts, first.