Monday Meal Review: Mali

THE SCENE

I drop the Maasa batter into the hot pan, wiping the tears from my cheeks. I want to be somewhere else, away from this terrible, no good day.

It’s been one of those days I sigh to the cat, Malky.

Now, as the batter puffs up into a crispy, golden disc, my focus slowly shifts from my frustrations to the smells and sights in front of me.

My mouth waters.

My stomach does a summersault.

I flip the Maasa and realize these pancake-donut treats were going to be g-o-o-d.

My phone rings. I wait. I hesitate. I shouldn’t answer.  But I do.

Another silly argument about the same old drama. Predictably, the tears come back. As I lose focus, I burn the Maasa. A few minutes later I hang up the phone and sigh.

If I can’t create peace in my own, tiny life, how can I expect it for the entire world? I flip the vent hood on.

I scrape the pan. Time to start again.

This time I won’t answer the phone. There’s nothing left to say. And right now there are Maasa to cook. To enjoy.

I believe we are the key to our own happiness – our own “peace” of mind. When everything has been said that can be said, and – yet – the bitter smoke of an argument lingers for no good reason, then it is about choices.

We can choose to live in that filthy, smoky air – going over the argument in our head until our mind is ready to explode – or we can open the window and enjoy the fresh air. Begin anew. Try again in the morning.

You see, what  goes wrong in our lives doesn’t matter so much as how we deal with it.

Today is a beautiful day. I will enjoy these simple fried cakes from Africa.  This is a moment of grace. Once my mind finds peace, then I can pick up the phone again with fresh intent.

Then I’ll ride on the wings of grace.

THE FOOD

Mali’s Gluten-free “Pancake Donuts” (Maasa) [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

The crispy outside and the soft, doughy inside draw me in. The powdered sugar definitely brings all the flavors together in a way that is not only finger-lickin’, but completely addictive. This one made our tummies hurt, but in the best possible way.

What I loved least about this dish:

Not much. Just be sure not to use too much oil, as the pancakes will absorb it all. It’s a fine balance… a thin sheen is the best way to go, in my experience (but, then again, lots of oil is appreciated in west African cuisine, so the choice is yours).

Vanilla Ginger Bissap [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This drink is a keeper. It was a favorite for all three of us… we enjoyed the slight bite from the ginger, along with the ever-so-smooth vanilla undertones. Keith named it a favorite when served sweet and chilled, and I agree. Ava and I also name it a favorite hot, as we two love a good tea party.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing! Play around with the quantities – more vanilla might be nice if you want to smooth it out even more.

Ava’s Corner

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