When family visits from abroad it is not uncommon for them to fawn over food while lamenting at the price of supplies in trying to get a taste of home after leaving JKIA. Totally unrelated to this post, my luggage was delayed for eight hours owing to all the spices I packed from home. Back to summer bunnies. They ask for what we would consider to be our every day food. Rice and beans, the ever delicious ugali and sukuma but it’s the matoke that gets me every time. I have pay homage to Kirinyaga and say that matoke is best served with matumbo. The logistics of buying them from Burma and getting them clean enough to eat are all details.
Now I am on the other end of the stick. My biggest trauma so far has been an $85c and $1.29c avocados. My grandmother has avocados trees that serve family, nairobians who visit and the village dogs. We all have enough to eat. I am tempted to plant an avocado tree but there’s no guarantee that I will see to it that it grows and bears fruit. I have gone from having avocado when I want it to having it exclusively with Sunday dinners. Bora Uhai!
This is not to insinuate that all the food is bad. Far from it, American food culture is diverse thanks to the many cultures represented here. I rarely eat out, as the forewarning is that, one could easily out grow out their wardrobe. The few times I have eaten out have been interesting including the current bone of contention, The Popeyes’ Sandwich.
Before I lose my black card, let me say this, it must have been the jet lag . Being in a plane, cramping and trying to fathom life’s decisions could d something to your taste buds. I got here and Popeye’s was the first place my hosts took me to eat. I ordered a sandwich because in my mind it was going to be something like a Kilimanjaro sandwich. Nope! It was something that my jet-lagged taste buds did not like. I am planning to try it again after the craze and I will get back to you on that one. The chicken however is a wonder. I took some hot sauce to go. That’s how good it is.
Chinese food is full of flavor and despite our complicated relationship, I appreciate their food. It could do with less cooking oil/fat and the convenience of having a couple of them near me gives me time to ease into the menu. Am I the only one who cannot eat using chopsticks? If you are new here and are twisting your face in horror, I remind you that I am new to these things. Yes yes there are Chinese restaurants in Kenya. I only went there once, I was busy with kathufu na kafiriri at a joint sandwiched between co-op bank and java coffee house on Aga Khan walk. I will do better.
I am not a spontaneous person. You don’t show up and tell me to get in the car. I have a few questions; Where are we going? Do I need to pack my own water? How are we getting there? What time do we get back? That way I know if I need a jacket. All that goes out the window when you have time on your hands and very little to do. While house hunting I find myself at Rachel’s house eating Ugali, Sukumawiki and eggs. The joy! Rachel is working on her PhD in something to do with Botanical Sciences. She is petite and has lots of snacks on her desk. We know where the sugar goes to. After my Kenyan lunch, a call comes through, it’s a baby shower. The only reason I muster the courage to go is that I am looking cute and still don’t know what bus to use to get home. Thank God I choose to go. I discover the gold that is Jollof rice. West Africans food is a sport and art at the same time. My decency has me at one serving but left to my insatiable love for rice, a doggy bag would be a plan. I am still in the search in a West African dishes restaurant.
Have you watched the video of the opening of the first Costco at China? It is black Friday all over again. It is a depiction of me when I discover new foods. One of my professors held a potluck for our department and I ate EVERYTHING and even packed a whole tub of cookies. Only to discover that in this land there is cookies every where. Please take that for what it is and get your mind out of the gutter. Americans can bake cookies. The movies are right about that.
My birthday is in six days and all I want is a date at Longhorn Steak House. Two problems, there is not one branch in my small town nor somebody’s son to go with. Why don’t I go alone? Because I did that last year. I had a great self date last year and ended up treating myself great books and shoes. My roommate, someone’s daughter wants to bake me a cake but I want cookies and she cannot make those.Imagine saying you cannot bake cookies in the error of Google. This is what a PhD in statistics will do to you. Longhorn has freshly baked bread that has made me love bread again. Their ribs are soft and juicy with enough flavor to appease the jollof gods. The one time I went there, it cost $60 for lunch and soft drinks (plus a tip), wine might push the bill. Trust me, you get more than you pay for.
The one thing I regret is not going to Ocean Basket, as often as I promised to. Bay Breeze in Atlanta, Georgia is where to go when I miss Ocean Basket. There is magic in a name. Breezy is how I would describe their service, food and a Sunday afternoon when you choose to have sea food. While there is no guarantee to get seating space immediately, the food will make the inconvenience of waiting all better. I find that good places may make you wait. Longhorn will have you wait thirty minutes but the thought of pork ribs and a good book or conversation will serve as a good pre-appetizer.
Did you go to America to just eat? Let me prosper, please. I will tell you about the Village Bakery soon. Before then please send me avocados.