FAQ Series: Part 2

Question: What kind of food do you eat?

Answer: All kinds!

As I was typing this I had pizza in the oven. Once a month we try to do a family pizza and movie night as a treat. Olivia loves it because it’s usually some sort of kid movie.

We eat a lot of “normal” food because I do all of our cooking. We can get a lot of stuff at the various grocery stores, and I’ve learned to adapt our food to what I can find. Things like cheese can be really expensive, and other things like chicken can be found for about $1/lb.

I’ve learned to do pretty much everything from scratch, to the point where being back in Canada was kind of overwhelming for me food wise. There’s so much pre-packaged food there! :) I’m glad I’ve had the challenge of learning to cook from scratch, substituting and the like. It’s made me more flexible and adventurous in the kitchen.

In a normal week we’ll eat chicken a couple of times, usually baked or fried. We’ll have beef, either in stuff like spaghetti or fajitas. Chris loves fish, and we either buy it off the beach when the fishermen come by, or from Dr. Kerry who has set up a program with some local fisherman. We have 5 chickens now so we have eggs for breakfast most mornings, and try to eat fresh fruit and veggies throughout the week. We get fresh milk from the market weekly and pasteurize it ourselves.

I want to start cooking more Haitian food. Yes, I’ve lived here for 6 years and have hardly learned how to cook anything. It’s actually because Chris got so overloaded on it before I came. The mission used to have a cook in every day who would prepare supper for us, and it always had some sort of rice, and either chicken or beef in sauce, or other Haitian dish. There wasn’t much variety so Chris kind of got burned out on rice and beans etc. When we got married I started doing all our cooking, which was good for us. However, Chris still doesn’t love rice and beans and the usual Haitian fare because he ate so much of it in his early years.

One thing he does love is lalo. Lalo is a mixture of stewed greens that gets served with white rice and bean sauce. Yonese sort of taught me how to make it a few years ago and I’ve done it a few times with good results.

One thing that we had for dinner the other night was breadfruit. Breadfruit is what they call “peasant food” here. It’s this round, green, bumpy tree fruit that cooks up like a potato. You can cut it in pieces, peel it and boil it or roast it. You can slice it thin and fry it. You can roast it whole over the fire and then peel the skin off. When it’s very ripe it goes sweet and people with blend it up and make a shake out of it.

Now, the hardest thing for us when eating breadfruit, is actually getting it in the house. I put it on the shopping list on Thursday thinking I wanted to make it for dinner that night with a Creole sauce. Yonese went to the market, came back and was putting things away when I asked her if she got breadfruit because I hadn’t seen it in the house with the other market stuff. She told me she hadn’t gotten one for us because it was too expensive.

I need to give you a back story here. In the past when we’ve asked Yonese to buy breadfruit she’s outright refused. Partly because it is “peasant food” and she can’t understand why on earth we’d want to eat it. Partly it’s because she knows that when it’s in season people hardly have to pay for it, again making it an ideal meal for the poor. The fact that we wanted to buy it just seemed so wrong to her that she’s flat out refused to buy it for us, but will scrounge around until she finds one for free. I wish I was joking about this but I’m not.

This was the case on Thursday. She didn’t bring it home from the market because she didn’t want to pay for it. She has a tree in her yard, but it’s not giving fruit now. So what did she do? She went home, and then several hours later one of the workers came by the house and brought us a breadfruit saying Yonese had sent it over. Did we pay for it? Nope. Because according to Yonese, that would be wrong :) The next day she saw the pot that I had boiled it in and we had a chat about how I served it, the sauce I made etc. I just kept telling Chris how funny it was to me that our housekeeper was dictating what we were and weren’t going to eat :)


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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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