The best part of Malawi

is this:

Mm, guacamole

Mm, guacamole

This shouldn’t be taken as a dig against Malawi; it has many other fine points as well.*  But having an avocado tree in the backyard and making fresh guacamole – in February and March – ranks highly on my scale of awesome things to do.  Of course, one of the corresponding worst parts of Malawi is that, despite a preponderance of maize, there are no tortilla chips here.  Trust me on this one; every American expat has searched high and low, but there are none to be had.

But then, what are those tortilla chip-shaped objects in the photo? Desperation is the mother of invention (because I wouldn’t say chips are a necessity).  There’s a local business that produces frozen Indian pastry items, including samosa, egg rolls, and the key to these “chips” – chapatis.  Chapatis are basically the Indian tortilla, and though they’re made of wheat, they can be easily cut into “chip” shape and put under the broiler until crispy.  It turns out to be more like crackers and guac than chips and guac, but it’s the best I can do.  And what is a chip but a vehicle for transporting the guacamole between bowl and mouth, anyway?

Avocado harvest

Avocado harvest; we knocked the fruit out of the tree before it was ripe and let it ripen in the house, lest it be eaten by birds, monkeys, or other critters.

My housemate became the proud owner of a braai (grill, for all you Americans) sometime in early February, and we have since enjoyed several nights of eating outside.  The braai has proved particularly useful because we’ve been having lots of power cuts lately, which occur at random, unannounced times, but occur most frequently from about 6:15 – 8:15 PM.  Ironically, ESCOM’s slogan is:  “Power all day, everyday.”  Apparently there are no truth-in-advertising laws here.

With the advent of the braai came the advent of bean burgers.  When we hosted a BBQ about a month ago, I whipped up a recipe, because nothing is more disappointing for a vegetarian than an all-meat BBQ.  My Italian housemate was delighted with my bean burger invention, and has since instituted a weekly bean burger night.  Needless to say, my other, meat-eating housemate is not so impressed, but usually throws some animal on the grill once the coals are hot.

Mastering the grilling technique

Mastering the fire-starting technique

There’s no great realization or truth at the end of this post, I really just wanted to brag about having fresh guacamole and eating outside in March.  I promise the next post will be more substantive.  And if you were one of those people who said, “ew, bean burgers,” (Dad), maybe you should check out this article about the consequences of your pork chop:  Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health.  The study conducted in Iowa (referenced in the article, and found here) was small, but alarming.

*Digression:  it’s sort of like how the best part of my wilderness job in Colorado was brushing my teeth every morning.  I liked the job and I loved Colorado, but really, there’s nothing like a little Colgate in the pre-dawn mountain air and firing up the chainsaw with minty fresh breath.  No, but I’m serious.


2 Responses to “The best part of Malawi”

  1. LoveLetterstoMiddleEast Says:

    I will say this: I. am. envious. of your. Avocado tree.

  2. IndianSpicyFood Says:

    Thanks for clear recipe on how to make Samosas. I will attempt to make them during vacation. I am just worried about the mess the sugar dough will create.

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