Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Cookin'?

A fun part of learning about a new culture is experiencing their cuisine.  Many times meals are shared to show hospitality to guests and to spend time with family and friends.  Some of my favorite, most meaningful conversations and moments have been shared over a meal.  In the spirit of that sharing and love, this blog post is devoted to presenting some of the Haitian dishes I've been devouring for the past few months.  Please enjoy this crash course in Haitian dining!



Diri kole ak pwa (rice and beans): This is a staple food here and is served with almost every meal.  It comes in several varieties including the one you see here with red beans.




Mayi kole ak pwa (corn with beans): This is ground up corn and once set, it turns into an almost cake-like consistency.  I've decided that this must be the Haitian form of cornbread. 




Boulèt (meatballs): These are little bites of deliciousness!  Inside is ground up meat (not exactly sure which ones...maybe one day I'll ask), flour, and spices.  



Sòs vyann bèf (beef and vegetables in sauce): Beef and chicken are the two meats I'm served the most.  This with the rice and beans is my typical mid-day meal.  One of the best parts of Haitian food is that peppers are used a lot to add a little kick!




Pate Benita: This was first described to me as Haitian pizza and it is truly amazing!  The outside is fried dough and inside you find onions, eggs, cheese, and hotdogs.  There's a woman close to school named Benita who makes some of the best ones.  That is why this pate has her name on it! 



Legim (vegetables): Often my vegetables are served like this.  Sometimes this dish is also served with beef or crab mixed in with the vegetables.



Zaboka ak Fig (avocados & bananas): I realize that everyone has probably seen both of these before, but I had to show off the size of the avocados here.  They're huge and so different from the ones at home that I didn't even know what was given to me the first time I saw one.



Korosòl (soursop): This is another fruit that I had not encountered till I moved here.  A few weeks ago one was given to me and I just kind of looked at it funny and said, "What do I do with this???"  My Haitian friends had a good laugh...thankfully one of them helped me out and made it into juice for me.  It's absolutely delicious and I highly recommend trying it if you ever come across one!  



Bannann fri (fried plantains): This is one of my favorite foods here!  These are often served as a side with goat.  Side note - bannann in Creole means plantain, fig in Creole means banana (there were several very confusing conversations with my Haitian friends till I figured that one out)



Pikliz: The best way to describe this is as spicy coleslaw.  This has quite the punch of flavor to it and is eaten on the bannnann fri.  



Patat fri (fried sweet potatoes): Another yummy food, but one or two of these will fill you up quickly since they are very dense.



Bannann dous fri (sweet fried plantains): These are also quite delicious and make a nice dessert.



Labouyi: This dish has many varieties and is very similar to a sweet porridge.  It is cooked with anise giving it a slightly licorice flavor.  Normally this is eaten in the evenings.



Gato (cake): Okay, so not necessarily a Haitian food, but I had to share with you my first Haitian birthday cake!  Thank you again to all the birthday wishes and love this past Saturday! (Note: my cake did not originally look like that, but Kelsey accidentally sat on the box on ride home.  I think it adds character.)

That's just a little taste of what meals are like here.  Everything has been quite scrumptious and I have already started to make a list of dishes I would like to learn how to make myself.  Thank you my sponsors from these past weeks Paulette Jennis and Don and Yvonne Bingaman.  Also a thank you to my sponsors from this week Bruce and Doris Trant!




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