Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Introduced to good old farmer’s Spicy and syrupy Rural Texan Cooking

 I am a new person who recently came to stay in the United States of America. I come from Uganda and there, food is so central to our socialization, reward, recognition and care. It is not uncommon for a child who misbehaves to be warned he or she may miss a meal or two. Many a children have been brought back into line by just that threat. I was not spared this as well! Fast forward, I came to USA and had the opportunity to live with Selwyn Jones from Texas (born and bred, he would add every time we talked about Texas and particularly Houston of 1930s/1940s). Selwyn Jones, told me about how he grew up in their home and very large farm. He shared with me how they would wake up earlier and sleep late. He told me he enjoyed the different chores of the farm. He loved the animals mostly and he would spend most of his time with the horses, cattle, pigs (he called them hogs), geese and chicken. But most of all he loved the heavy meals. He told me that dinner in Texas was a meal taken at noon! Food and eating began the discussions on meals, feeding and food preparation between his culture and my culture.

Selwyn liked opera, flower arranging, drama, music, debating, visiting the museums and eating out. He came to live in San Francisco after World War II. He taught Calligraphy and Art at Berkeley University and exhibited his works in different cities of the World. He was a very good cook too. He enjoyed mixed vegetable and fruit salads. With time I was able to tell which vegetables, fruits and spices were best for the sauces/ soups I prepared. I was thinking back to the kind of cooking we did in Africa. Among the many types of preparations, Selwyn liked the “Ganda” sauce broth (he called it the casserole), especially when I put sweet corn in it. I would prepare a stock of this and it would last for a week or two. I made sure I had enough to last us that time. I would also invite friends over, who liked to sample African foods, and prepare it for them.
I always wonder why this particular broth is the darling of many. I always look forward to the involved preparation that makes it enjoyable. It is mostly vegetable or fruits that make up the bulk of the food. This makes it a universal food. See the recipe below. You too can try at home.

GANDA SAUCE BROTH (Chicken or Beef))
Make five (5) servings
3 cups of water                                                
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼-teaspoon sea-salt
2 fingers of plantain
½ pound peanuts/ Ground-nuts
½ Pinto beans
¼-pound Lettuce or Cucumber
¼-pound Broccoli
¼ fish
¼ chicken or beef (if chicken, it gets to be the chicken broth!)
¼ gram of each of these spices: Basil, thyme, ginger, vanilla, sweet roots, Musizi...
1 pound of red onions
¼ pound of green leaf onions
1 pound of tomatoes
½ pound of Irish potatoes/Sweet potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit!
Pill banana plantain
Pill the potatoes
Cut the onions and pound them to make dough
Cut the leafy onions
Cut the lettuce or cucumber
Cut the tomatoes
Crush the peanuts into smaller pieces
Get the Soaked beans after one day soaking (previous day activity!)
Add the potatoes in the heating 2 cups of water in a large saucepan, cook until soft. Cook the plantain until it is ready and then take both off the stove. Pound the potatoes and add one tablespoon of butter. Put in oven for 30 minutes. After, get it out and put the rings of plantain on top of the potatoes. Return in oven for 10 minutes. Take them out and let them cool.
In a frying pan, put the remaining butter and allow it to heat up to 200 degrees F. Add onions and fry them, add tomatoes, add fish, chicken or beef (cut into very small pieces), fry for 30 minutes and add salt. Let is cook for 30 minutes and add spices as well as 1 cup of water now. Add the beans and peanuts. Let them cook for 40 minutes. Cover this. It is now called stock. Do not stir! Reduce the heat to 60 degrees F. Let it cook for 20 minutes. Around this time, the water has decreased. Serve in next few minutes when ready.

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