I’m sure you all know that Mike and I love food. We enjoy trying new things, cooking together, and eating really good food.
We enjoy Rwandan food for the most part, however, it gets monotonous very quickly. Besides the privilege of wealth (neither of us has ever had to worry that we won’t have enough food), we are a little spoiled coming from a country where it is common to eat foods from many different cultures. SO, making food that we enjoy becomes important for our ability to be here long-term.
We have been prioritizing in terms of appliances. Our housemates have a fridge, but it is first priority when we move out. We have been living without an oven, and we may get one in the future (they are affordable but not as high-priority for us as a fridge). I have been content to live without an oven, because it means I eat less cookies, cake, etc, but I didn’t realize how many other things I use the oven for.
We got a high-powered blender for Christmas. We use it every day,
often more than once. Primarily for smoothies – we can take advantage of the abundance of cheap, fresh fruit, so we have one, almost every day. Besides that, it makes some tasks easier (have you ever crumbled bread crumbs by hand?), lets us do thing we wouldn’t be able to otherwise (like make peanut butter), and gives us the opportunity for some treats (frozen lemon slushy, coffee slushy, soft frozen yogurt).
There are a lot of things that we are able to get easily at home that are more difficult, expensive, or impossible to obtain here. However, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. One obstacle is creativity (I’m running out of ideas for ways to combine tomatoes, onions, and green peppers), the other is time. In theory, I love the idea that everything is made from scratch – it is much healthier, and tastes better. But in practice… first I have to go see what I can find today, which means checking all the shops – about half an hour to an hour, and often with mixed results. There are few shortcuts, like a can of pasta sauce or mushroom soup. (Or frozen pierogies – we’ve made them from scratch a few times and are getting better/faster.)
We get milk from our neighbor’s cow – we use it for coffee, sauces, and to make ricotta & yogurt. (There is hardly any cream on it, but it tastes less like “cow” than a lot of fresh milk I’ve had.)
We are learning: where we can get different items, what we should stock up on in Kigali, and different ways to be creative with what is here. (For example, green beans are cheap and plentiful right now. So far, we’ve thought of 5 different ways to eat them that don’t include baking.) I don’t drool with envy as much at the seemingly endless stream of food pictures/recipes people post on facebook. (Every once in a while, people even post something helpful.) Slowly, this area of our life is getting to be familiar, manageable, and even enjoyable.