A story of how big-hearted Africans are in their hospitality. The description of the foods very evocative and full of exotic word imagery. The story illustrates the universal concept of "soup". A dish that never fails to satisfy a hungry soul.
The Kenyan diet very simply consists of the fruits of their red-brown earth. With Arabic rulers and Indian immigrants coloring their past and present, the cuisine becomes both fresh and exotic. Their staple meats of zebra, ostrich, beef and pork are spiced then barbequed over an open flame, and are known as nyama choma. These are now tightly regulated due to wildlife preservation efforts, but are still found at tourist flocked open-air eateries.
Our trip, however, was almost all vegetarian since we worked at a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Hospital in the inland village of Eldoret. The SDA faith encourages its members to refrain from alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and meat eating in order to promote a more pure state of mind when pursuing God. As a result our hospitalís cafeteria was laden with produce and dairy products grown on their own campusí farm - bright red ripe tomatoes sweet enough to eat whole, baby broccoli with tender brilliant green stalks, deep purple sweet yams, and fresh smooth creamy yogurt with every meal. The carnivores in our group never even missed the meat. Breakfast always included a cup of hot steaming chocolate Milo and pristine white-yolked egg omelets.
At dinner every night we looked forward to the soup - always blended smooth with a touch of fresh cream and founded on a roasted sweet onion base - which could be potato, mushroom, sweet peas, or anything in between. There was always a starch such as purple yam, creamy roasted potato, or a variety of unnamed native roots full of nutty earthy flavor. Proteins were usually whole grain or gluten based and flavored with fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, or spicy red pepper.
Fresh cream based hand churned vanilla ice cream was a luxury we were occasionally treated to as the American visitors for whom they were so grateful. A healthy diet of wholesome foods, and walking everywhere instead of driving, were two things that I feel led to a general sense of well being, and stress-free contentment and joy.
Itís true what they say about Africa - it blows into your heart and leaves you longing for more.