I’m not going to really do a whole spiel about this blog, but basically I had semi-tried over the summer and since I’ve gone abroad to start a blog, but the truth is I just suck at journals in general. However, two months into my semester here in East Africa [I was in Northern Uganda, and am currently in Kigali, Rwanda until early December] I am going a bit stir-crazy not being able to cook. Save a couple of batches of spaghetti with tomato sauce made on a charcoal stove (doable- a bit tedious and time consuming, but so delicious) and one glorious lunch a bunch of us cooked at the SIT site one Saturday, the closest I come to cooking is when some of us go to the market for lunch and cut up veggies.
Suffice it to say, for this one right here, who ordinarily bakes on a weekly basis at school and even more so at home, it’s been an adjustment. I’m sure this will sound terribly cliched and contrived, coming from someone who “goes abroad”, but living in a different country definitely makes you more aware of your behavior and habits. I always knew I loved to cook, but I don’t think I realized how much of my life it was until I got here. Granted, I am the resident baker among my friends and family, but what I mean is that after a few weeks, especially after moving into my first homestay, I didn’t quite feel like myself (again, obviously you wouldn’t because you’ve just moved in with a Ugandan family and you’re an American ginger, but I think you get my point). In school I’d always have a list of possible things to bake each week, and it was nice to have the routine of setting aside a few hours before class to go and cook and only cook. It’s not the sort of thing you can really multi-task with, so for me it’s quite calming to just listen to music, bake and not think about anything else. It’s also my way of showing I care- my friends are not allowed to have a birthday without a cake from me, and I’ve bonded a lot with my grandmother over it- this summer we made a double-layer 9×13 cake for my grandfather’s 80th birthday and it was huge, heavy and AWESOME. Also my family is really enthusiastic about it because I think the whole art-major thing makes them nervous, and so they see this a career opportunity. Sure.
So much for not doing a spiel, right? Anyway, my impetus for starting this is because next week the eight of us staying in Kigali for another month to do a research project are moving out of our homestays and into a house with a lovely kitchen! It even has an oven, and I am BEYOND excited to resume my stress-baking. I had started a list last month of all the things I was going to make when I got home, but now I get to cross those off here!! Alright perhaps this is not that exciting to anyone else, but I figured this is the one journal I’d actually be enthusiastic about keeping, so why not give it a real shot?
Onto more fun things, like these
These are chouquettes, a French pasty I fell in love with when I did a summer program in Paris. I only recently found a recipe for them on my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, at which point I made them almost immediately and twice after. You’d think that for someone who has spent their whole life using computers, the thought “hey, why don’t I just google chouquettes?” would be quite quick to come to mind, but sadly I spent four years sans chouquettes. It hurt that much more when I discovered they are both incredibly easy to make and delicious to eat.
It really is just a lot of butter and eggs, with a bit of flour and sugar. For that reason, I think it’s something I could pull off here, so this is the first thing I’ll be making Because after two months of nonstop rice, potatoes and chapati, obviously I need more bread.