Installment 3 – Food
When I arrived in Gulu, the DTS team had just made the decision to have rice and beans for lunch and dinner each day with rare variation. However, with the food being prepared by the wonderful Cissy (a Ugandan who the team employed to cook), this ‘simple’ meal never failed to satisfy or lose its appeal. She was a really good cook! The rice and beans on the YWAM base were a little less appetising but still more than edible. I don’t think there were any dishes or foods in Uganda that I didn’t like and I know I am going to miss the food, although I will enjoy having more fresh produce again, such as meat, vegetables and fruit.
We did not have refrigeration in any of the places where we stayed and so, when we treated ourselves to items such as milk, it had to be in quantities that we could consume either in that time or else a form of long life milk. Meat was also usually freshly prepared, with the chickens being brought home before killed and plucked. I really admire those who do this task as I hated hearing or seeing the chickens squirm as their vein was severed. I must be too soft and so my “thank you” to those who did this unpleasant task!
The majority of people outside of urban centers produce much of their own food. Dinners usually consist of a sauce or gravy with a staple or two plus small amounts of meat and fewer vegetables. Rice, beans, matoke (made from bananas), cassava, sweet potatoes, chapatti, and plantain were common staples eaten. Meat was commonly chicken, fish, goat or pork. Other foods include white potatoes, corn, cabbage, pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, groundnuts (peanuts), and milk. Oranges, papayas, mangoes, and pineapples are common fruits. On an irrelevant side-note, I did not see an ‘orange’ orange but only yellowish ones.
One of my favourite sauces was a paste made by g-nuts (like peanuts) and sim sim (sesame). A dish I liked, but that seemed to be an acquired taste amongst visitors, was called malaquan (a rich spinach-ish and g-nut sauce). Another favourite was rolexes. I don’t know how it got its name but at first I thought they were calling them “rolled eggs” and that is essentially what they are. Street venders first cook the chapatti on grill plates and then fry an egg, put the chapatti on top, and roll it up. Cabbage or onion may also be added to the egg. They are soooo good!