Monday Meal Review: North Sudan

If you could taste life, it would be salt of the earth, spice of the heavens.

It would leave you thirsty, and yet it would quench you.

When I see people sweat through complicated recipes to impress each other, rather that for fun, I wonder if they taste life… if they really drink it in.

Because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen her. That girl who’s crying before a dinner party because she’s taken on a recipe that’s much too complicated. Or because she’s just splattered oil on her favorite blouse. Or she answers the door with flour on her face and doesn’t realize it until a glass of wine and two hours later.

While her friends fill the walls of her home with effervescent laughter, her insides are writhe with stress, fear, insecurity. She’s wondering if everyone’s doing okay, without taking a moment to breathe for herself.

To live. To take it all in.

To taste life.

I know, because I’ve been that girl.

sudan.north.food.recipe.img_0487

I recently read a cookbook review that claimed the author wasn’t sharing true “recipes” but ghosts of recipes… they spoke with disdain about the book’s quick little ideas to make mealtime more fun.

My first reaction was “Good for her!”

My second reaction was “I want this book!”

Of course, the internet being the internet, there’s no north star to get me back to that book, and I’ve clean forgotten what the title was and who the author is.

But the lesson remains; mealtime can be fun if we keep it simple. Life can be fun, if we keep it simple.

sudan.north.food.recipe.img_0484

I’ve never been one to scoff at the idea of simple changes.  Which brings me to this week… if adding a cinnamon stick to your tea is such a basic concept that you’re actually likely to do it, then GREAT.

This will help you understand the people of Sudan a little better, and that’s 100% Win in  my book.

This week Keith was out of town, we had Easter weekend, and we were immersed in the day-to-day grind of book writing. It felt so good to dive into these weeknight friendly dishes.

It felt so good to just be.

THE FOOD:

Gorraasa [Recipe]

sudan.north.food.recipe.img_0446

What I loved most about this dish:

Gorraasa are soft, doughy, and just a touch elastic… and easier than making pancakes. Ava could not stop eating these. She called them her pancakes, and really got into picking up pieces of her hamburger with it (instead of using a traditional bun). Even Mr. Picky loved how these tasted with his spiced hamburger.

What I loved least about this dish:

While it may not be traditional, I think it’d be fun to add in some sliced green onion or even sesame seeds. If you have any trouble cooking through to the top, you could always pop a lid on top to help hurry things along. Keep them warm in the oven while you work.

Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Salatet Zabady bil ajur [Recipe]

sudan.north.food.recipe.img_0315

 

What I love most about this dish:

Everything. Cutting the cucumber is the toughest part of the job, which makes this an easy-peasy recipe, perfect for any day of the week. To be honest, I never expected Ava to go for it, because sometimes foods coated in creamy mixtures put her off from the get-go. She ate quite a bit (as did Mr. Picky), so this might be a good one for the kiddo’s in your life, big or small.

What I love least about this dish:

Nothing.

Cinnamon Tea [Recipe]

sudan.north.food.recipe.img_0364

What I loved most about this drink:

There’s almost nothing to making cinnamon tea- just add cinnamon sticks to your favorite black tea… but the real fun came in trying to drink the tea through the sugar cubes. While none of us succeeded at drinking more than one sip through the cube, we sure had fun trying.

What I loved least about this drink:

Nothing. If you’d like the flavor stronger, just add more cinnamon (or boil it with the water while it heats up).

Opt In Image
Hungry for more?
Be notified when National Geographic releases my memoir.

Simply fill in your details below.

Comments

  1. I have definitely been that girl…
    Love those pictures of you and Ava.

  2. aunty eileen says:

    A poem

    done to impress,
    is unimpressive!

    done with love,
    is outstanding!

    by me

  3. Brian S. says:

    I love your words of wisdom, though they are not easy to follow. I love that you speak of tasting life. There’s an incredible book called “Life with the Baoulé” about an Ivory Coast people. In this book, food is used as a metaphor for many things because while a European thinks of SEEING the truth, an African thinks in terms of TASTING the truth. Taste is the metaphor of choice for knowledge.

  4. Brian S. says:

    Suddenly remembered something relevant. Once in South Sudan I got a lift with truck driver from the north, north Sudan. A big guy in a big turban. It was a rough stressful drive but he took a long lunch break, laid down a tablecloth on the grass, invited me and others to join him. For 2 hours he lounged around, talking, eating, totally relaxed. After that, he went back to his stressful drive.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Depending where one lives, driving can be like a high energy dance… a performance of sorts. The intermission, in this case, sounds divine.

  5. Beautiful!!! post, pictures and video!! Thanks for brigthening my day!!!

  6. Thought you were going to save the tablecloth for a B-day…but it works!!
    Love you

  7. elisa waller says:

    I felt like you were talking directly to me…or writing to me when you wrote: “mealtime can be fun if we keep it simple. Life can be fun, if we keep it simple”. or when you said : ” dont get caught up in making something super complicated…. small changes add up to great change”….LOL As I think about getting ready for the graduation party..I’m getting sooooo nervous! AHH…..I keep thinking keep it simple keep it simple!!! and this sort of helped..although Im still freakin gout..tee..hee..that cucumber salad and tea just might be on the menu! xo

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Yes, a big party can be stressful … Take deep breaths and remember, your whole family loves you. Even if we just have water and feed off the sunshine, we’ll be okay as long as we’re all together. xo

Speak Your Mind

*