Monday, September 16, 2013

Cooking in Zambia

I’m uploading some newsletters to the blog for those who don’t get them.

While on stateside we were asked how cooking is different in Zambia than in America. This person doesn’t like using the internet and so instead of addressing this on the blog, I will attempt to write it in the newsletter. Steve does the newsletter and it is usually full. I’m going to just write my own version of the newsletter and try to send it two weeks after his. So maybe you will hear from us more often.

Cream of Mushroom soup is what I’m going to talk about this time. Delicious Chicken and Tuna Noodle Casserole are two recipes we love. I double the recipes for our family of six, so that means I need two cans of cream of mushroom soup.

We can buy condensed cream of mushroom soup in Lusaka which is 13 hours away. But when I open the can the stuff just runs out. In America is it a thick lump and stays in the shape of the can. I then wonder if this is going to change my recipe.

If I use two cans a week, with 52 weeks, in a year that is 104 cans a year. That adds up. We only go to Lusaka 3 or 4 times a year. That is a lot of cans to stock up on .

In America you have garbage pick up and recycling. Here in Zambia I have this lovely pit in which to throw all of my garbage. We use to need a ladder to get down into the pit and light it, not any more. It is a little scary at how fast it is filling up. I do buy things in cans, but cream of mushroom soup it not one of them.

Trash burn pit

So when I make Delicious Chicken or Tuna Noodle Casserole I have to add a step and first make cream of mushroom soup. Following is the recipe.

Condensed Soup Substitute

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

3 Tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Blend in flour and salt, cooking and stirring until bubbly: Using wire whisk to prevent lumps, stir in milk a little at a time. ( like a white sauce) Cook just until smooth and thickened. Makes slightly over 1 cup and is approximately the same amount as one 10 oz. can.

Using this recipe you can add 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 Tbsp. finely chipped onion into the melted butter before adding the flour and you have cream of mushroom soup. You can also make cheese soup, tomato soup, celery soup, onion soup, and chicken soup. I actually make cream of nothing soup. I don’t even add the mushrooms although we do have those over here. I just don’t bother buying them in the store or in the bush. You can buy huge ones along the side of the road here in Zambia.

I leave you with “The Jumper” a braver soul than I am.

The Jumper

This is off the end of a boat into Lake Kariba!