Occasionally the monotony of farm work and the predictability of Ugandan cuisine must be broken by celebrations and a few delicacies. I’ve been enjoying experimenting with baking banana bread using the double boil method* on my single-burner propane stove. I’ve had a decent success rate, but when Alissa hooked up a real oven (small though it may be) I was so excited. I had been dreaming of making an upside down pineapple cake with the amazing pineapples in this area, and Alissa’s birthday provided a good excuse for trying it out. The result was, well, you can see for yourself!
If I may say so myself, this cake tasted sooooo good!
Additionally, with the bumper crop of lettuce that we’ve had, I decided to make “Pittsburgh Salads” for Alissa’s birthday dinner. (For the non-Yinzers out there, a Pittsburgh salad consists of a tossed salad topped with grilled chicken strips and French fries.) Now, you have to understand that 99% of Ugandans have never heard of lettuce, let alone eaten a tossed salad, so the proposal of salad as a dinner plate was a bit strange. Nevertheless, we proceeded with preparations. I even think that people besides Alissa and I enjoyed them.
The cake was such a bit hit, that I was nearly forced to bake another one for Caleb’s birthday two days later. And I decided to share a bit of my culture with the agriculture team when I invited them to my house and we made the Pittsburgh salads again. Oh, and I baked a third pineapple cake for that event too.
It’s these small things – familiar tastes and celebration of home culture – that can be the fuel to push me along when the stress or monotony of life in Kyenjojo threaten to overtake me.
*I learned the double boil method on a backpacking trip in North Carolina. You take a large pot and put a couple inches of water in the bottom. Then you take a smaller pot that can fit completely inside the big one with some space to spare. You put the cake batter in the small pot, and cover the entire thing with a lid. The boiling water and steam bakes the cake. This method works great for breakfast cakes and any other moist cake variety.