La nourriture Camerounaise


Today, I ate the most delicious beans. They were magical beans. My mother prepared red beans with some sort of tomato sauce, and it was the first time that I actually finished everything on my plate. Knowing that I will probably get fish and rice tomorrow, I savored these exceptional beans.


Fish, along with rice and other starches, are staples of my diet. There are probably tubers growing out of my ears, as I eat manioc, potatoes, and macabo several times a week. Pasta (most often spaghetti) is cooked and then mixed in palm oil with vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, green beans, onions, and garlic. When I am served fish, I always choose the tail over the head, so as to avoid the eyes, and spend the duration of dinner taking out the spine and checking for bones before I take each bite.


I have had couscous de maïs three times now. My tongue tells me that it tastes like absolutely nothing. I have watched my family eat fistfuls of couscous (yes, with their hands) and I just don’t understand the appeal. I hope that will change.


I often become sleepy during dinner. This could be because:

  1. I wake up before 6am every day.
  2. Starchy foods make me (and everyone) sleepy.
  3. I eat at a coffee table (un gueridon), which means I must hunch over when I eat.
  4. The smoke from my kitchen is getting to me.
  5. All of the above.


If I am in Bafia and want a sandwich for lunch, I go to sandwich lady. I have not yet heard anyone identify this woman’s actual name, and I feel as though she would not care if we called her sandwich lady, because she is making bank by setting up her stand outside the Bafia training center every day. Anyway, sandwich lady makes sandwiches with French bread, mayonnaise, avocados, onions, tomatoes, beans, and piment, if you’re into that (which I’m not; her beans are spicy enough). If I am in Bokito and want a sandwich for lunch, I must prepare it myself after walking to various booths and storefronts looking for food items. Sandwiches often consist of French bread, avocados, onions, tomatoes, eggs, and cheese similar to Laughing Cow cheese (I wish it tasted better, but hey, it’s the only cheese I have found).


When we have school in Bokito, we eat lunch at a restaurant owned by the family of one of the other trainees, as arranged by the Peace Corps. We are usually served legumes, beans, pasta or rice, fish (which I avoid for obvious reasons), cabbage, and fried plantains that I like to pretend are French fries.


I have heard that there is a delicious omelet/spaghetti shop near my house, so I definitely need to check that out soon. For now, I will continue to eat at the restaurant when there is school, and snack on dark chocolate, bananas, or oranges (they’re green here) between meals. Also, a Coca-Cola a (almost every) day keeps the I-really-miss-American-food away. Bring on the heart disease.


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