Friday, April 15, 2011

How to make supper in the hospital guesthouse?

It has been quite a week!
So many patients to look after,
so many new words in French to learn,
so many meetings,
so many one on one mentoring,
So many interesting nursing challenges...
Today's blog entry will hopefully be on the lighter side after Monday's blog.
Many of you dear blog followers have been overseas before so you are aware of some of the challenges facing missionaries in everyday life. For example here in Niger, I am living behind a tall concrete wall 24/7 except for the kind hospitality of others. I have no transport. I can walk a quarter of a mile or so to some street venders to buy bread, fruits and veggies etc.But, I am not sure of the wisdom of going alone. Last week my friend Anne went to the market for me and bought carrots, a cabbage, several cucumbers, tomatoes,and delicious mangoes. So now what? How can I make something for dinner? There's no pizza delivery here! I have to be honest, preparing food is labor wonder most missionaries need housekeepers and guards. The hospital sends a young man Chacou to clean the guesthouse is a constant battle to keep out the sand and dirt from the encroaching desert! With my hospital duties I just don't have time to sweep and wash the floors etc! I do myown laundry and practically everything must be ironed. I spent several hours taking care of my clothes for the weekend and next week. What about meal preparation? It is a challenge cooking for one when I am used to preparing for Paul and me and the family on weekends and special occasions. I am so spoiled in the USA regarding variety and availability of food. Here my cooking approach to each meal (as they say on Iron Chef America) is 'Boxcar children's'...using up and making do!
Thankfully, I have my main meal at lunch at the hospital. The choices are...take it or leave it! So far I've taken it! This leaves supper alone at the guesthouse. I have been grateful for every bit of food that I've brought.
I used a couple of tablespoons of leftover Mac and Cheese (white cheddar version) and whirled this with hot cooked carrots and tomatoes. This produced a velotine aux legumes...translated puréed veg soup. It was delicious in spite of not having any salt or pepper or other seasonings. Don't assume that such things are not available, but I haven't been organized to shop fully. There is a small grocery store called Scores I believe that has western items at a cost. One can find fine French cheeses, pastries etc but these would be luxury items.
What's on hand that I could make into something tasty? I do try to make it fun by recalling Chopped and Food Network programs:)
I had a cabbage and carrots to start...
I felt like a salad...
First soak the grated veggies in Jik (Clorox) water..
Rinse and soak with fresh filtered water...
Put in the fridge to crisp up...
Try to make a dressing....?
Ok let's try bottled mayonaise, Dijon mustard and a drizzle of local honey!(that was put in the fridge by Issacou, the hospital chef)
Would it taste good....not sure if I'd be 'chopped' but I enjoyed my cabbage salad.
After that, I was too tired to fix anything else!
I need to get dome eggs for next week as my main protein source is canned tuna (compliments of my sisters)....which I eat in cucumber 'boats'! My other source of protein are the egg white protein powder shakes that Ruth sent along.
The mangoes make a great dessert especially when cold and straight from the fridge. These too must first be soaked in Clorox water and peeled.
I appreciate the fresh flavors here even if it takes more work to prepare meals! I am grateful for food to eat when so many are hungry here! God is gracious to me. He has given me my daily bread. Thank you, Heavenly Father!! Happy weekend!

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