Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mission Food 1

The first and hopefully not the last in a series about the food we eat on mission.

During training, we were forewarned that our eating habits would by necessity be different. While "American" style food is available (corn flakes, for instance) it is expensive, and local food is cheaper.  Beer is 800 frs a can, while palm wine is 100 frs. Locally produced oils are cheaper than imported vegetable oil. So, we are attempting to eat what is available to us, in order to stay within a budget and to live like the locals do. This means that certain foods or certain ingredients just aren't on the menu. So, how do you have pancakes where wheat is rare?

Plantain pancakes
makes 20 or so small pancakes
(note, all measurements are inexact. I was cooking by feel and I am reporting from memory... if you want to replicate this, good luck! I'm sure you'll turn out with something edible!)
2 plantains
6 eggs
2 cups corn flour
1/2 packet of baking powder
a generous portion of palm oil (at least two or three tablespoons)
just enough honey

1.  Chop the plantains finely. I used a hand-cranked food processor (a gift from a LMH vet at our commissioning... it has already come in handy!), though we might mash the plantains more finely in the future.
2. Mix together all the ingredients. thinking of it now, I could have added a pinch of salt.
3. Using your best pan, heat even more palm oil over medium heat. our pan is not that great, I would have loved to cook these in well-seasoned cast iron.  Still, using tons of palm oil worked, for the most part.
4. Spoon the batter into the pan, keeping the cakes small (so they don't fall apart so easily during flipping and plate transfers).
5. When the sides are dry and bubbles form in the middle, flip 'em. do whatever you can to keep them from sticking. (again, I miss my cast iron!)
6. Serve hot with a little bit of honey. or, keep them as a snack for later. or do whatever you want with them. our family gave this recipe mixed reviews. There were some corn muffins that Logan made the next day that were a hit with everybody.

 James did not like the smell of the cooking palm oil at first, but after he tasted the final product, he declared that he now liked the smell. I think the honey helped. 


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