It is always very common to find something strange about different cultures and make all sorts of comments about everything we consider strange from what we are already used to. Talk of Norwegians and their bread culture, bread for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. No! No! No! No! This is a bit too much, especially for me, I have always had a special dislike for bread since I was young.
“Then guess you are in the wrong country,” remarked my Norwegian friend. My response, “No, guess I am in the right place and you can be assured I still go one month plus without eating bread.” It sounds strange, but the truth is, bread and potatoes as staple food, has never registered!! Despite the many other things I have adapted to in this land, the bread culture, is a a no no no go-zone for me!
I am an African woman who knows how to cook and in Kenya we have endless list of food varieties, talk of Pilau, which is definitely my favourite, Biriani, Ugali, Rice, Mkimo, Githeri, Kimanga, Chapati, Kipunde, Mseto, among many more not forgetting Matoke, which was also my favourite before I knew how to make delicious Pilau.
When my boss at the Media school, Pamela floated this idea of a cooking party with African menu only, those to be invited lady friends who have lived in Africa before, then it got juicy. Saturday, the shopping started and extended to yesterday after work, trying to gather all the right ingredients and by 5pm we were ready to make our African dishes. Yester-evening was time well spent!!
My Ugandan housemate and I as the main chef cooks and we loved it. Name it all, Chapati, Ugali, Matoke, peanut soup from Uganda, cassava, yams, chicken stew, beans stew and many more. Two hours later we were done and ready for a feast.
Norwegian women all curious about everything and asking all sorts of questions about each food. We had to ensure they learn something new, just incase they will one day get tired of eating bread.
“Rarely do we get tired of eating bread because we have varieties of bread to choose from, so if you are tired of this type, you get the other type. We also eat fish, meat and vegetables, only that bread is the only thing we eat a lot. Bread is the only food that is even mentioned in our Lord’s prayer and we take that literally” remarked a friend.
The food is ready and our Norwegian friends take turns to go for a second and third helping and I make my own conclusion that they love African food and I am sure these are some of the easiest food they can make on their own.
What about starting our own cafeteria where we sell African foods in Kristiansand? We brainstorm about it and we ask our girlfriend Solveig who of course was a good student in learning how to make the chapatis.
“Oh sure, brilliant idea. Given the amount of task involved, I guess you can sell it at 30 Noks each and you can be assured you will get fans.” She said.
Mmmmmm, thats sounds a plot, 30Noks is about Ksh. 450 for one chapati, so you can imagine if I make 10 chapatis, then I have about Ksh. 4500 a day, hahhahaha!! Maybe it is a viable idea to think of starting it soonest, ha-ha!!!
Talk of cultural exchange, then I think it will also be a great idea to carry the bread culture back to Kenya. Sounds a bit tricky. My Norwegian male colleague frequents Africa a lot and thinks otherwise. “Is there bread in Kenya? You mean that white spongy stuff, what you eat in Kenya is not bread, I can understand why you don´t like it. All I know is, something they call bread for breakfast and that you add some sugar in it, how? What we have here cannot be compared to what you eat back in Africa as bread. Our bread is healthy, nutritious and readily available.”
You can be sure, I am not convinced about this, no amount of justification will change my dislike for bread. But I think I can borrow a few tips on how to make lunch out of bread in Kenya. I ask my Ugandan colleague about it “ What do you think if we started making the same lunch we get at work here for our colleagues back at home???
From the look on her face coupled with a Ugandan sneer, I know something nasty was on the way. “Note the size of the slice of bread they use, then take your mind back home. A man in Africa takes a whole loaf of bread for breakfast and now you want to introduce a small slice of bread for lunch……no no no darling, that is suicidal. Count me out in such ventures!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Of course I agree no less!”
That was a great evening, ladies-talk and sharing our worldviews, thank you once more to Pamela and all the guests present, awesome I will term it!
Enjoy a bread free day, won´t you!!