Posts Tagged ‘food’

Blague (Tuesday, 2011 August 16)

August 17th, 2011

I was at a "family reunion" the other day. Here are some more pictures of food.

This is what I ate for "breakfast", i.e. 10:30 when I first rolled up. It’s "legumes" and ignam, which they call "yam" but isn’t really like our yams. There’s also a bit of chicken here. This is your typically balanced Cameroonian meal: a starch, a sauce, and maybe a bit of "meat" (most commonly fish).

This is what I ate a little later, after their traditional ceremony. There wasn’t enough room for me to actually watch it so I can’t say much about that. It’s rice and chou, cabbage. There was also sauce tomate to go with the rice, which someone else had.

The many colors of Top. Top is a soda (jus) which is found prety much all over. If you’re going to find two flavors of jus in a bar, it’ll be Coca-Cola and Top Pamplemousse (grapefruit). Pamplemousse tastes kind of pamplemoussey, but not bitter like really bitter grapefruit. The bottle caps are different colors; they re-use the bottles, so the caps differentiate them. Top never "wins" — some beers do promotions where you can "win" a free beer (just check under the lid).

Tofu! My postmate is indirectly responsible for this. Now people all over village are making it.

Here are some Cameroonian jokes I heard at the family reunion. They were all considered very funny, and discussed in great detail after they were told.

Some international watchdog society is compiling a list of the nations with the most corruption. Cameroon is in first place, as it has been for a long while. Paul Biya finds the organization in Yaoundé, working on their analysis, and says "So, where’s Cameroon on this list?" "It’s first." "OK," he says, "how much should I give you to put us, say, third?"

("Because he doesn’t realize that he’s still making corruption!" they said to each other, knowingly.)

Paul Biya is visiting in France. Someone is opening some champagne. The cap shoots off, pop! Paul Biya says, "Where’s that cap? Give it to me… You guys don’t know this, but in Cameroon, EVERYTHING wins."

Paul Biya is visiting again, this time with a few other heads of state. Among others, he’s sitting next to the president of Gabon. It’s a very fancy dinner; the flatware is made of gold. He’s watching the president of Gabon, who is looking around, calculating, then suddenly taking one of the forks and putting it in his pocket. Paul Biya thinks this is a pretty good idea, and wants to grab one too, but someone always seems to be watching him. Suddenly he has an idea. "Africans do a lot of magic," he says. "Watch carefully! I take this fork and put it in my pocket, and suddenly I withdraw it from the pocket of my friend!"

("Because who’s going to check his pocket afterwards?" they said. "No one would dare.")

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Nourriture (Tuesday, 2011 August 9)

August 13th, 2011

Jen said I needed to write more about food, and a few people said I needed to put more pictures online. Both good points. Today’s post is titled nourriture, or "food", which comes from the word nourrir, "to feed" (like the English "nourish"). Somehow that always seems backwards to me, like food is the more elementary thing and then feeding that food to someone should be the complicated word: food and enfoodenate, something like that.

I was in Yaoundé for the ICT committee meeting so here’s some typical "what I eat in Yaoundé" food.

I got in at night, and between laziness and convenience is this dinner. It’s all purchased at the "Corner Store", the supermarché nearest the office (Timothy purchased something from this store once). Hamburger 500 CFA (with a sauce that includes mayonnaise), boulette 500 CFA, bread 100 CFA. Putting the boulettes in the bread and then toasting it is a pretty good-quality dinner for relatively cheap, and is of course Jenny Wang’s idea.

My favorite spaghetti-omelette-sandwich shack, it’s also right next door to the office. Two eggs spaghetti in a half-bread is 375 CFA. If I’m really broke I get two and eat the second for lunch.

Truly, the king of sandwiches.

The guards at the office. Almost all are Anglophone, except for one that is from my village, but as most Volunteers are Francophone, they get used to us talking whatever.

We got bush meat for lunch next door to the office. This is pangolin, which is sort of like a small anteater or maybe a weird armadillo. I’m not crazy about bush meat (my feelings echo Allison’s face), but I think Jenny wants to be able to have a long list of accomplishments that includes having eaten as many things as possible.

The other plate is porcupig, which may be porcupine or something else entirely.

Ben is willing to make sacrifices for culinary science.

Jenny got a sparkly unicorn tattoo, God only knows where.

ICT committee, including our newest inductee Trevor.

This is pistache, also called aigussi [sp?] in Anglophone. I think of it like Cameroonian tofu, and it’s probably my favorite Cameroonian food. I don’t really understand how it’s made or where it comes from, but it involves grinding a seed which is also called pistache. It’s seasoned with fish, savory and a little spicy, and you can often get lumps like this one on the side of the road when you travel. (Each of these was 200 CFA, which I thought was a little expensive.) I think culinarily it’s a sauce, so you’re supposed to eat it with a complement, a starch such as plantains, rice, something made from manioc, or even bread or bananas. Different foods can go with different complements.

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