Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Basics: Bananas!

I can’t believe I have gone so long without giving bananas their due. You can’t swing a cat here without hitting a bunch of bananas. Yesterday as I was walking to work, I saw a truck packed with bananas making deliveries to the various stalls on my street. We’re not talking little bunches, as you see. This is the WHOLE BUNCH! Bunches of whole bunches.

I hope I have mentioned matooke before now. If not, let me explain, matooke is mashed and steamed green bananas, and is an absolute staple of life around here. I never thought of bananas as something that could be served with meat, but that’s what happens. You get a pile of matooke and some kind of meat or beans, and the juice from the meat seasons the matooke, giving it some flavor. And let me tell you, it’s really rather tasty.

Then, of course, there are the roasted bananas and plantains that you can buy from the vendors at many street corners. There are two vendors at the corner when I get off the taxi to come up to MCDT. They sit there with small charcoal grills loaded with bananas, turning them over with their fingers until they are golden brown and truly delicious. Joseline gets them for 100 shillings. I never get them for less than 200, and really, they’re worth it. I don’t have tough enough fingers to hold them straight off the grill, usually holding on to the ends of the newspaper in which they come wrapped, but when they do finally cool enough, how wonderful they are.

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