Food, Kenya

The Joy of Cooking And the Silliness of Shopping

Since I moved into my new house last week I’ve been exploring cooking again. It’s been a few months since I cooked last, instead I’ve been opting to eat out or make simple things like toast with peanut butter. It was fine with me because I eat something healthy like yogurt with granola before work, then a good, hearty meal at ILRI’s cafeteria every day — meals at home were more of a casual “tide myself over until lunch tomorrow” thing. All other reasons aside, I guess it really boils down to not feeling “at home” in my old apartment. The stove was only 1/4 functional, the pots and pans were funny, the sink was dinky, and there were always people coming and going.

I have slept in this new apartment four nights, three of which I have cooked for myself:

  • Night one: Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, serano pepper, and crushed black pepper
  • Night two: BLT on toasted brown bread with mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, and smoked turkey
  • Night three: Chinese fried rice with plenty of garlic, serano pepper, carrots, and french beans topped with cilantro and crushed black pepper

Each one has been increasingly delicious, and now I’m wondering how I will top myself for tomorrow’s dinner.

One side effect of my new-found joy of cooking is that I’ve noticed that grocery shopping is a strange activity. I’m not sure if it’s a male thing, a bachelor thing, or if I just suck at it, but shopping is confusing. Particularly shocking to me is the amount of time I spend walking around the grocery store in preparation for these relatively-simple dinners. Keep in mind there is also laundry to be hand washed, floors to be mopped, and I think I should be practicing my Perl to stay sharp at work. Also, I don’t make grocery lists, and I don’t think about what I want for dinner until I’m inside the store.

People working at the grocery store must get a kick out of watching single dudes walking around with their shopping baskets. First I’m over by the vegetables, where I decide that I need tomatoes. Then I realize I’d like some black pepper so I walk across the store in search of that special all-in-one grinder thingy. It’s only once I plop that pepper in the basket that I remember that I need onions, so I wander back towards the veggies but get distracted in the bread aisle. While considering the merits of eight-grain vs. “no grain” brown bread I somehow remember that I used the last of the milk this morning, forgetting my original mission for onions all together…. until I’m standing in line ready to pay!

I must have spent sixty seconds staring at the different kinds of soy sauce at Nakumatt this evening when, right when I was about to choose one, three Chinese dudes walked up behind me and started looking at some other sauces. I pretended I knew what I was doing and read the ingredients of the soy sauce I was holding. As far as I know they didn’t even notice, but I sure felt the fire under my butt to choose the right one with them looking over my shoulder!

3 Comments

  1. Randi

    I often times like to look at the ingredient lists for foods because there are a lot of un-needed stuff in simple foods. like, lots of peanut butter has added sugar… why?

    i also found myself staring at soy sauce yesterday and chose the one that was organic and gluten free. why do i need wheat in my soy sauce?

    i am excited for your cooking!

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