A snippet of daily life from Laura:
Ulambile? (Are you hungry?) This is one of the first questions I hear as I walk in the front door from work each day to the hearty smell of pap or phuthu (a staple food here made of corn meal). I then respond with “Nglambile!” (Yes, I am!) and I help my sisters finish cooking dinner for that night. Pap and phuthu are made of the same ingredient, but depending on how much water you add and the length of time you cook it, the texture turns out either sticky and dense, or light and crumbly. The corn flour itself doesn’t provide much flavor, so the chicken or beef curry or tomato and fish soup that we eat with it spices it up a bit! The good weather lately has helped our garden produce quite abundantly. We have been blessed to harvest spinach, eggplant, maize, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, pelepele (chile peppers), zucchini, and my personal favorite, butternut squash. In the next few months, the lemon, pear and apple trees will produce as well. It’s been fun comparing the different ways that my host sisters cook these vegetables, with the ways that I am used to. Though I was always known as the worst chef in my house of college room-mates, luckily it has come somewhat easy to me here, which I think is due to the fact that the most common cooking technique is boiling, boiling, and more boiling!