Maybe it’s because I’m reading Running With Scissors, but last night, I dreamt of hair products. I also dreamed about walking around a mega-supermarket, and the first thing I looked for was teriyaki sauce (followed closely by a search for artificially-colored cereal). Perhaps it’s homesickness, but I think it’s also because I’m eating really poorly—pasta, noodles, or rice every night—which isn’t healthy. Breakfast, when I eat it, is dry cereal. I hardly eat meat because I’ve seen some of the (un)sanitary practices here and am a bit repulsed. It’s hard to find normal eggs here—almost everywhere you go, only mutant eggs with yolks are sold. Yes. Not yellow yolks, but white yolks. (I asked why, and have been told that it’s cheaper to make them. I’m still scratching my head at this explanation.) They have a different taste and the yolks are gooey like phlegm, so I don’t really like to eat them.
I love to cook, and many of the dishes I make somehow require cheese. You can find cheese in Gisenyi, but only one kind: Cow Cheese. If you’re in Kigali (and not in the expatriates’ favorite store, La Galette), you can also find Goat Cheese. There are not different types of Cow Cheese and Goat Cheese. The Cow Cheese is a yellow, semi-hard block with a taste vaguely similar to mild cheddar, and with small holes like Swiss. The Goat Cheese is just white and pasty.
From experience, I can tell you that the Cow Cheese does not melt well, resulting in goopy macaroni and cheese. I haven’t really figured out what to do with it, so I keep it around to eat when there isn’t any power to cook.
...which happens often.
For the past several weeks, since the beginning of the rainy season, the power has been intermittent, favoring being off instead of the other way around. By force of necessity, I now cook the simplest, fastest thing I can when I have power—usually pasta or Ramen—and more often than not, I end up eating my meal by candlelight. The power situation is such that I can’t cook anything special (i.e. not plain rice with soy sauce) for guests. So dinners with friends are on hold until I get home. In the meantime, I’m having romantic candlelight meals by myself.
Sometimes I think back to when I lived in France, when my apartment was above the Rodier boutique. I thought hardship was not being able to find peanut butter. My, how times have changed.