Today we attempted to make banana bread over the fire.  The ladies all love our banana bread when we bake it and share it with them (we always have bananas, so we make banana bread pretty regularly with our brown bananas!), so we knew they would love to learn how to make it. The trouble is that we had never made it on a fire, and a fire is their only way of cooking! We gave it a go today and it wasn’t a bad first attempt. We also tried seriously cutting back on expensive ingredients (sugar, oil, egg), that we knew they wouldn’t want/be able to buy to make banana bread, so it was definitely an experiment all around! It was pretty good, and the ladies seemed to enjoy it. Had we put in the regular amount of sugar it would have been even better, I’m sure! But these ladies aren’t used to the same amount of sugar in their diets as we are, so it probably seemed sweet enough to them.

Here we are all crowded in the wind house around the fire.


I didn’t get a good picture of the cooking method used, but you can kind of see it in this picture, and kind of in another one below. The pot in the front has greens in it, but the pot on the back that has a “lid” is the one with the bread in it. Thankfully a couple of our ladies have some experience baking regular bread over the fire and they had what they needed for that: a flat piece of metal to cover the dish and build a fire on.  The fire had already been taken off in this picture. They built a fire underneath and then moved most of it on top, so there was a real fire on top and hot ash underneath, creating an oven-like environment.

Here we are getting the first taste! It was still doughy and had to go back on the fire a bit longer.

Once it was ready, I cut it up and had some help passing it out to everyone.

In this picture you can see the fire on top of the metal “lid”.  That’s loaf #2 cooking.

As usual, they scraped up every last bit. Cooking together is so fun. Today we learned some interesting cultural tidbits about ladies and food. For instance, if you wipe you knife on your skirt (which are used for all sorts of things around here!) then a man won’t eat what you have cut with that knife. Or if you (a woman that is) step over a man’s food he won’t eat it. Or if you step over the food while it is cooking on the fire, or let you skirt brush over the food on the fire (I did this one and i heard some ladies react to it!) then a man won’t eat it. Or if food has been underneath a woman (like under the bench on the ground) then a man won’t eat it. But women would eat any of those things. They are only taboo for men. In the conversation we also learned that women can’t walk over or in front of men. Apparently it takes their strength from them and they will be weak. This applies even to kids. They said I shouldn’t walk over/in front of Everett, or that even Lucy shouldn’t walk over/in front of Everett. Interesting stuff.

1 Comment
  1. Karen Swoap

    Those taboos that you shared are probably very important for you and your family to understand and try to avoid doing…. Not because you agree with their reasoning but because you want to respect them. I am so thankful that you are having so much wonderful interaction with the ladies there. How is your language learning going?

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