Monday, March 20, 2006

Cow Cheese

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.


Blogger amazedlife said...

oooh! oooh! i have a suggestion. that cow cheese actually makes a GREAT grilled cheese sandwich. strange, i know. i can't stand it on its own, but it really is good as grilled cheese.

3/20/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just spent the last 2 hours catching up with your adventures in Rwanda. I really enjoy your stories. We will all miss you at YRLC next month but hope to see you when you get back. Have fun.

Kelly Arnold

3/21/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

The biggest irony is that I just found peanut butter at the local store.

Great idea for the cheese! I bought some bread and am going to try it for lunch tomorrow!

Kelly, thanks for the nice words. YRLC will be lots of fun, I'm sure--enjoy DC! Send my best to the Kansas crew.

3/22/2006 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am absolutly 150% addicted to cheese, so now I can rule Rwanda out of my living choices. Maybe I'll come visit, my man and I talk about going to Africa again, we'd like to see more of Morocco, and the central region.

No power, that's rough too.

Running with Scissors is going to be made into a movie here, they are already filming. I think Gwyneth Paltrow is cast in it. All of his books are great, you should read them if you haven't!

3/22/2006 2:48 PM  
Blogger satay said...

i've directed some people to your blog MC through mine. Can you see a spike in traffice? No? Bummer.

3/24/2006 3:12 PM  

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