Thursday, April 15, 2010

Week #8 - Kitchen Time in Africa - Granny

Dear Ladies:

I thought I’d drop you a line to make sure you are all appreciating shopping at your local familiar grocery store, your familiar kitchens, normal spices, regular flour, normal shortening, REAL brown sugar and most of all chocolate chips.

I found out a few days ago that it is my “turn” to furnish the dessert for our upcoming Zone Conference. I’m not sure how I lucked out, as this is the first one we have been here for, but….. There are 2 other couples that will be coming, the Olson’s who we are replacing and the Cardiff’s that live up in Francistown (almost 5 hours away), but they have each had a turn in the past so it’s my turn. Anyway, I convinced myself that even though we are living in a tiny studio apartment with not much in the way of cooking utensils that I could still give the Missionaries something “homemade” for dessert since WE will be eating an “off the street corner catered lunch meal..” Last week I bought the closest thing I could find to Cream cheese, and Sweetened Condensed Milk and I borrowed a glass cake pan from Sister Olson and I tried my hand at the cheese cake by memory as I didn’t have a recipe and we don’t have internet here yet to look up a recipe. I got it mixed up and since our fridge is about 2’ square, there wasn’t room for the cheese cake so I did a little creative reorganizing and got it balance on top of the butter dish and went to bed. About 2 O’clock in the morning I always have to get up and take my potty break and get a drink. I never turn on a light as our place is only one room and it wakes Lynn up of course, if I turn on the light. You can probably guess what happened, I reached in the fridge to get my water bottle and I knocked the cheese cake out of the fridge and it exploded all over our tile floor. Glass went everywhere and so did the cheese cake. Lynn jumped clear out of bed when he heard the crash, asked if I was OK and then proceeded to help me clean it up. Because we live in a Hotel complex, someone comes in to clean and sweep the floor, so we had no broom, dust pan or mop, so, we used our dish rag and dish the best we could to not get cut and get the mess cleaned up the best we could. The cheese cake was still runny so I knew that it wasn’t quite the right ingredients that I was use to so I bagged that idea.

We had a couple of missionaries with birthday’s so I decided to go with my Ukraine special and make them a wacky cake (you can’t miss on a wacky cake right?) Well, I didn’t have a cake pan so I borrowed one from Sister Olson, the flour here is a little different and the cocoa is WAY strong, and the frosting sugar is different than powdered sugar; and the first cake was a little sunken in the middle and tasted really of strong, bitter chocolate but the Elders loved it even though I hadn’t thought to take paper plates or forks or milk or ANYTHING. We were having a District meeting about 2 hours away from here in Mafikeng at their little chapel (in an old commercial building with no kitchen).They just held out their hands and we had CAKE! We had to travel 2 hours to get there as well as going through the boarder back in South Africa for the meeting and then back through the border and two hours back.

The next time I tried the cake, I added more flour, less chocolate, stirred the frosting a little more and it was better, but a little dry. The meeting was here locally and I did find a small package of paper plates, couldn’t find forks so we used spoons and everyone thought it was amazing to have homemade cake. The missionaries here aren’t used to getting spoiled at all. Sister Olson doesn’t have time to cook for them and she is the only one taking care of 34 missionaries so I wanted to help her out while there are two of us here to spoil them. Soon they will leave and I won’t have time to do it either. Dad said it wasn’t the best Wacky Cake he’d ever eaten, but it was the best one so far in Africa.

I realized I only had one cake pan (borrowed) and a glass casserole dish and that wouldn’t work to make dessert for 40 people when President and Sister Poulsen come Saturday for Zone Conference. I checked into buying one but it was over $12.00 to buy one and when we move I’ll have all of Sister Olson’s stuff and I can improvise better. So I decided to try my had at making cookies. I found raisins and oatmeal so that was my immediate plan and I set to work with my 2’ tiny oven and a really small cookie sheet, but realized when I got ready to mix them up that I didn’t have anything to mix them up in. Well, I looked again and realized that I had a perfectly good pot in the back of the cupboard that was bigger than anything else I had (next was a 2 Liter ice cream tub I had saved) I actually had pretty good luck last night with the cookies, I think they may be a little firm (hopefully not dry) but I didn’t burn any and turned up with 70 cookies which I put into Ziplocks that I brought from home and put them in my tiny little freezer above the fridge. I knew that wouldn’t be enough for 40 hungry missionaries so I started up the oven again tonight after supper and tried putting together a batch of peanut butter cookies, but just as I was gather my ingredients, the power went off. We didn’t have a candle, but Lynn found his little 4” flashlight and we prepared ourselves for the worst. One of our neighbors saw us outside trying to change batteries in our flashlight to get better lighting and she offered us a candle which was much appreciated. We did dishes by candlelight and about 30 minutes later, the power came back on so I got back in the mood to make cookies. I haven’t tasted any of them yet, as I only got 50 cookies out of the double batch recipe that Sister Cardiff gave me while we were in Francistown 2 weeks ago. If I get a chance to try another kind tomorrow or Friday I will, but our calendar is really full and Olson’s are leaving soon so the Missionaries might just have to settle for what there is. I thought about serving it with ice cream, but Ice cream is about $6.00 or more per half gallon (2 Liter) here and I don’t even want to think about how much ice cream 40 missionaries could put away.

Well, it’s late and I still have to clean up my little kitchen from my cookie adventure, but while they were cooking I thought I’d share with you how BAD I am at cooking here and how much I am missing my kitchen at home and all the familiar things that I enjoy when I cooking for my family. I checked into the price of a cake mix here and it’s almost $5.00. I’ve got to learn to cook; I Can Do It!!! I really do love it here and we are seeing many wonderful things and having a marvelous experience. The people are wonderful and warm!


Out Of Africa!!!

Sister Morgan

1 comment:

  1. Mom,
    Such fun adventures. I can only imagine trying to learn to do those things in a foreign place with foreign things.
    I love you!