Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What We Eat


Here are our typical daily meals:

Breakfast or Morning Tea
Mary almost always starts her day with a bowl of oatmeal. If she has them, she adds raisins or bananas. Since I start earlier, I have a couple of cups of “coffee” before joining Mary with either oatmeal or more commonly toast with peanut butter and jelly. Our host family used to bring us fried dough every morning, but has ceased to do that seeing we prefer to make our own morning meal.
Lunch or Heavy Meal
Our host family makes this meal for us that can appear anytime from 11:00 am to 2:30pm. About half the time the meal consists of canned mackerel cooked with some fresh vegetables. Rice or ramen noodles may be added with a little onion. Depending on what is being shared, mutton flaps or chopped chicken hindquarters replace the canned mackerel. Once in a while, we get two meat dishes. Soy sauce may be added for flavoring. All these meals are cooked in a pot, kind of stew or soup. Breadfruit is the usual side dish.
Dinner or Afternoon Tea
We never know when or if this meal may appear from our host family. When it does come anytime between 6:30pm to 8:30, it is usually rice mixed with a sweet coconut cream or in a sugary cocoa soup. Due to the meals irregularity, we usually have eaten something before it appears. Our meal may be anything we have available from canned tuna fish, apples, oranges, crackers, sandwich cookies, popcorn, or my favorite, toast with peanut butter and jelly. Lately we have been eating a salad made with the leaves of a plant that grows behind our house.

What makes mealtime unpredictable is our host family is working at the plantation, so lunches are often prepared after returning from morning activities or evening meals when they return late from their afternoon plantings. Children usually come home from school very hungry and devourer the remainder of lunch.

Mary cooks very seldom now as we have gotten used to our new way of eating. Another factor is that there is really not much in the stores you can buy to cook in a way we used to eat. The selection in Savaii is very limited. It seems that even restaurant meals have lost their appeal (Mary may differ on this point).

Please don’t think all Samoan Peace Corps eat as we do. Those that live in Apia, can easily get there, or whose families shop in Apia have a wide selection in the supermarkets from which to choose and can get ingredients to prepare almost any American dish. They or their host families may even have ovens to bake or roast. Those really up on the economic ladder may even get meals prepared in a fry pan!

The real advantage of our diet and activities is we have not gained weight and none of our host family can be considered overweight, a rarity in Samoa. Our food, if it grows in the ground, it is fresh. If it is frozen, refrigerated or has a label, it is imported, even eggs. Our true luxury is the refrigerator. We infrequently have any food to store, but there is nothing like a cold glass of water; better yet drinking cold coconut water straight out of the fruit. Yum!

1 comment:

Teri said...

So, what goodies should we pack in our suitcases when we come in July? We'll try to bring any and all food requests that are permissible through Customs.