Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CocoMo!


Guacamole is quite possibly the world’s most perfect food. Coming from a Southern California girl who was raised on Mexican food and ate a stuffed quesadilla at the airport as my last meal stateside, I admit my opinion could be biased. Needless to say, when the kids said that they really, REALLY wanted to learn to cook I immediately thought guacamole would be the perfect first dish. Now I know this seems entirely self serving, but it really is a dish full of teachable moments. We recently planted our avocado trees and will soon be grafting them into the delicious Hass variety, so it made sense to showcase the avocado. Guacamole is also a fresh, local, sustainable and nutritious food that is easy to prepare and recreate in the future. The lesson also allowed me to introduce the basics of kitchen safety, sanitation and preparation. But ultimately, the lesson was fun and delicious!

Wema showing off her knife skills as she chops a tomato.

Check out Redson with his garlic.

He takes "finely diced," very seriously.



Nearly final products.
I couldn’t believe it, but I forgot salt! In my opinion salt is its’ own food group and cannot be left out, so the school kitchen was kind enough to offer some up.

Clearly Wema shares my love for salt!

Finally, it was time for the mixing!
Well, when the head chef heard that were making something to eat he simply had to come see what we were up to. Oh did he LOVE the guacamole! He ate it up nearly as quickly as the kids and at the end proclaimed “this food is so good it could cure HIV!”

The head chef gives us the thumbs up!

After finishing their bowl, some of the boys swoop in on the remaining bits the girls had left

From the looks of the dishes scraped clean, I think the students agreed.

Guacamole is a very tough word for Tanzanians to say. I made every student pronounce it before I handed them a chapati. Many giggled as they struggled to pronounce the strange word. Still, mere minutes after they finished they ran to Josh to tell him of the delicious food they had just made called “CocoMo!”
It is definitely true that the way to the heart is through the stomach. I got more smiles, thanks you’s, and even some “God bless you Annie's,” after the guacamole lesson that I am tempted carry a Tupperware full with me in case I get pulled over by the traffic police.

If you would like to make your own guacamole the recipe is very easy. 1 large avocado, 1 small ripe tomato, ½ onion, 1 clove garlic, ½ lime, pili pili(habanero pepper) and salt and pepper to taste.

We will be cooking once a month, so stay tuned for our next foray into the culinary arts!

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