Recipe: Rwandian Fruit Salad

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We may be in the heart of autumn here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but no celebration of Rwanda is complete without a sliver of tropical fruit. This is the most popular way to end in a meal in Rwanda. Varieties include mango, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, banana, and even buttery avocado: Although Mukamana says she and her husband cannot afford to purchase all the fruits needed to make a salad every day, they buy enough produce to make sure everyone at home eats a banana, an orange, or a piece of … [Read more...]

Recipe: White Sweet Potato Fries

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Sweet potatoes are up there with a good hair cut, purring cats, and sunlight through fiery autumn leaves. The simple sweetness is all I need on a chilly evening. But it's not all about the coppery hued variety, which litter my counter tops like fallen leaves. There's such a thing as white sweet potatoes, too. Rwandans love sweet potatoes, especially white sweet potatoes which they boil, mash, and even fry. I first saw this in action on the a Peace Corps blog En Route Rwanda: With help … [Read more...]

Recipe: Rwandan “Agatogo” with Collard Greens

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There's an old Rwandan saying "The most extensive land is the human belly."  I like to think there's mountains and streams in there, glorious sunsets and easy, glimmering sunrises. Is that somehow unsavory? I don't know. I do know I want this land to be vast, and include as much variety as possible. I want to fit the whole world in there. And this, my friends, includes the plantain. Plantains have been an issue for my family from the beginning. Ava isn't really keen on them (or bananas). … [Read more...]

Menu: Rwanda (& Giveaway)

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Today is one of those days. I feel like singing. You see,sometimes a country is so far from anything I know, I have no idea what to expect. Then a meal like this happens. Fun. Interesting. Satisfying. With each bite we're a little closer to our friends across the deep, salty blue. This is Rwanda: simple food, full of cozy comfort. Each item on the menu is a regular staple, from the bananas to the plantains, and from the sweet potatoes and to the crushed peanuts.  Let the warmth carry you … [Read more...]

About the food of Rwanda

Children on a farm in Rwanda. Photo by Sarel Kromer.

I'm writing about Rwanda while sitting in the airport, on my way to New York City. Big things are in the works, and I can't wait to tell you all about them. This is a fertile time for creativity, which makes Rwanda the perfect week to accompany me on this journey.  The earth in this small, but sprawling country is so fertile, I've read you can stick a carrot top in the ground and carrots will grow. That's the kind of good, growing energy I need right now. This is the center of Africa, … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Russia

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This week we took the Russian Potato Salad to a potluck event in downtown Tulsa called "Open Tables" where individuals of different religions and belief systems gather to share food and company. It was my first time. While the discussion would have been fascinating (we were encouraged to talk about our differences), my table - through a series of prior commitments, baby bedtimes, and no shows - had completely vacated by the time discussion started. And so it came to be that, while the room … [Read more...]

Recipe: Russian “Egg, Egg & Caviar”

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The scrambled eggs in Russia are so moist and creamy, you'd swear there's cheese folded up inside. To achieve this texture, the eggs are never whisked or salted at this stage, but broken directly into a pot (not a pan), then cooked over gentle heat in a "on again, off again" game that makes Ross and Rachel's relationship on Friends look stable. Finally, a generous swoosh of heavy cream and a sprinkle of seasoning finishes the eggs off right. Then, while they're still steaming hot, you … [Read more...]

Recipe: Russian Tea

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If you want to try something uniquely Russian (at least, I'd never heard of it until this week), try a cup of nice, black tea with a spoonful of fruit jam stirred in. Tea is the national drink of Russia, while the jam is a happy bonus. If you're serving to more than one, be sure to brew the tea extra strong. According to Wikipedia: A notable feature of Russian tea culture is the two-step brewing process. Firstly, tea concentrate (Russian: заварка) is prepared: a quantity of dry tea … [Read more...]