You may see a few more posts relating to day to day living and food here. Mainly because it was something I couldn’t do in Juba. There was almost no way of cooking interesting things on a regular basis – everything is trucked into Uganda so choice was limited and prices high. Even if I was able to go to the market regularly (it closed at 5 and we usually worked until 7 or 8), I wouldn’t have known what to do with what they have to offer there! Am I going to process sugar cane to use as a sweetener? No. Am I going to sit outside my house and pound the casava on a rock using a log to make flour to bake my bread? You have got to be kidding me. I may be all gung-ho about living in remote places, but I’m not about to start making my own flour. Well, you have to draw the line somewhere, and this is my line.
At the moment I live in an area of South East London that is…shall we say…not exactly Kensington High Street. I don’t want to start hating on my neighborhood because I am lucky to be housesitting anywhere, but I will say that I am very keen to take advantage of any of the neighborhood’s redeeming qualities, even if I can actually only think of 2. One is the Lewisham Market.
While not technically a farmer’s market, and definitely not organic etc., its stalls offer fresh produce 6 days a week, all year round. If you go around closing time (5pm-ish), prices start seriously dropping as the vendors want to offload as much as possible. For example, last week I bought 8 bunches of spinach (!) for £1. No joke. I also bought about 3 pounds of portobello mushrooms and a whole tray of raspberries (8 of those little cartons you get at the grocery store), also each for £1. And people in the area say they can’t afford healthy food and that’s why there is an “epidemic of obesity” in this country? Nonesense. I agree that there are many parts of London without close access to stores that sell fresh produce which makes it more difficult for people to eat healthily, but this is not one of those areas. But I digress.
Let’s put this into context. Paying £1 for tomatoes here in London almost fills a plastic shopping bag. That same £1 spent in Juba buys you exactly 4 tomatoes. No joke. And people survive…somehow?
In any case, Lewisham Market results in my fridge being filled with lots of great stuff. But when faced with that much spinach (or mushrooms, or tomatoes, or whatever) and only me to cook for (I live alone), it calls for some creativity in the kitchen. Not something I’m used to – that’s Simba’s forte. Like making mushroom pate with all the extra mushrooms. Or today’s lunch creation: “Spinach and mushrooms sauteed with onions topped with feta cheese on a bed of polenta.” Not bad, eh? I could get used to this whole living-in-a-developed-country thing.
As an aside, I haven’t mentioned this yet but Simba is back in Juba for the summer, at his same job, to make some money for the upcoming school term. Can I just state the obvious and say that long distance really really sucks? Especially with dodgy skype connections. It’s been one month already and still 2 more to go and I’m already almost at the point of throwing temper tantrums I miss him so much. Grrr….