It seems criminal sometimes to write a blog about the mundane things in my life here in Cameroon, especially when we find ourselves immersed in prayer for our friends in Nigeria whose lives and homes are at risk as I write. But, nonetheless, my everyday life does go on, and if I can’t find humor in my life, I am indeed in trouble. So I hope you will enjoy this, AND pray for our friends.
For those of you over 40, if you have never watched this Youtube video called “Age Activated ADHD” you really ought to follow this link and get a laugh. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oHBG3ABUJU Those of you under 40 who have, or suspect you have ADHD, or know an adult who does, you will probably also enjoy this video.
As a self-diagnosed person with ADHD, I find great relief in watching other people who walk through life, as I do, constantly distracted by the next thing that needs to be done, and additionally trying to very efficient about the time I spend in the kitchen. So let me tell you about my Saturday morning.
I got up late-around 9 am, after reading my Bible in bed, and checking email and facebook on my phone, (since the internet IS working in my house today) as I was NOT looking forward to stumping around the house on my crutches. Having forgotten to ask Irene, my househelp, to make some kind of quick bread loaf on Friday, to serve my company today, I decided that this was a good day to try my poppyseed loaf recipe, having recently rediscovered the bag of poppyseed that I brought from Canada. Knowing it takes almost an hour to bake and I need it by 4 pm, I decide this is a morning activity, so I start at about 10 am
I need a teaspoon of lemon juice for the loaf recipe, so I began by locating the lemons I had in the fridge. Examining them I decided they ALL should be used up today, since they look like the might dry up. Not content to just squeeze the juice, I recall that I have also run out of dried lemon zest, which I have been using with ginger, in tea, which is good for coughs and colds. So I grate all three lemons, then squeeze the juice. Can’t decide what to do with the extra, so I set aside a couple of teaspoons of juice, and leave the rest in the citrus juicer thingamabob. I realize when putting lemons in the compost that I haven’t fed my chicken, so I stump out to her cage with some feed mixture.
On my return, I consult my recipe to see what else I need and suddenly I realize that I have no eggs. I usually get those myself, but running up to the market outside the gate on crutches in not an option. So I consult with Jeff and Suleymanu on their morning plans, and Suleymanu agrees to do that. I suggest he finish his laundry first so that it can dry- since it looks like it might rain this afternoon. I make the unusual decision to wash the dishes at this point and also to bleach the cutting boards, since they are looking a bit nasty. While I have the bleach out, I decide to also clean the kitchen sinks.
Since Suleymanu is still doing his laundry, I decide I might as well continue with the lemon ginger concoction. I retrieve some ginger from the food locker, wash, peel and slice it, and put it in a thermos container with hot water. I look for the Tupperware container I usually use for this mixture, but realize it is in the fridge with a bit of that lemon ginger mixture left in it. Undeterred in my commitment to use up everything from my three lemons, I decide freeze the older mixture in ice cube form for individual servings, and then I can reuse the container. I combine the new ginger water and lemon juice and put it in the fridge. Then I look at the lemon zest etc on the counter and stump out on my crutches to put it in the sun to dry.
Still unable to continue without the eggs, I turn my attention to my email for a while. Shortly thereafter, (around 12 noon) Suleymanu leaves to get my eggs (and a few other grocery things that have come to my mind) and I start on the first step of the loaf, because the poppyseed has to soak in milk for 30 minutes. Of course, I have to mix some powdered milk for this since there is NO WAY I am going to use any of our expensive fresh milk that we have for baking. SInce my can of milk power is empty and I have to hop around the kitchen to find where I keep the larger bag, so all that takes another 10 minutes.
Deciding I need a sit-down task for a while, I go to the spare room where I keep my sewing things, and set to fixing the cast boot that I made on Thursday. It has a design flaw and keeps sliding forward. Jeff makes an appearance, and I tell him that lunch is leftover stew. He says he will wait for Suleymanu to return.
Suleymanyu comes back as I finish my sewing task, and I stump over to the kitchen to begin. But since my work area is right around the microwave, (which we CAN use today, since the power is on) I decide I should heat the stew for them, so they are not trying to do that while I am working there. Given the low wattage of my microwave, this takes about 5-10 minutes. There’s not enough room on the island for everything I want to do, so I decide to peel the papaya and serve it for lunch too. The peel goes in bowl to give to my chicken later. Jeff and Suleymanu sit down to lunch and I begin in earnest to make my poppyseed loaf.
Turning on the oven, I remember that I have some leftover cookie dough in the fridge, and since I don’t like to use the gas to heat the oven for just one thing, I pull it out of the fridge.20 minutes later or so, the cookie dough is on the sheets, the poppyseed batter is divided between a large and small pan (and a few mini muffins, and it all goes into the oven. I turn it down a bit since it has gotten up to 400, and I want it at 350. But there is no thermostat in these ovens. So you have to watch it yourself.
Since I am known to forget about items in the oven, I decide I should remain in the kitchen till at least the cookies and mini muffins are done. I eat the last few Whole wheat crackers that my neighbor Amy made for us, so I text her to ask for the recipe. I decide I should find out about adding bran to flour so that I too can have whole wheat flour (which can’t be purchased here in Ndu) Internet is still working, and Google helps me find that answer to that, so I go to mix a little bran and white flour together.
Looking in the bag of bran, I realize that I have NOT sifted all the bran I do have (I get very rough bran from the feed supply store and have to sift it to something I can use in baking). Out comes my sifter/colander thingy that we have determined works well for that, and I start sifting. As tons of bran ends up all over the island, I remember that I usually put a pizza pan under it to catch all the mess. I manage to remember to remove the cookies and mini muffins, and turn the oven up a bit since it is getting too cool. Suleymanu, bless his heart, comes in to wash the lunch dishes, as well as my baking ones. I finish sifting the bran bump around the kitchen to find a better container for it, and rescue the small and large loaf which are threatening to burn on the bottom because heating the oven while there is baking in it is not a good idea. But it’s unavoidable in this setup. Oven goes off. The bran tailings get added to the chicken’s feed.
I sort of clean up the bran, decide to forget about making a whole wheat mixture til I get Amy’s recipe, and take the baked loaves out the pans. Having asked Jeff if he would sweep the kitchen later, I leave everything else in the kitchen and go lie down. It is 2:15 pm. I think I did better than the lady in the video. I have lemon ginger tea additive in the fridge, lemon zest drying in the sun, cookies and poppyseed loaf on the counter. My email is answered, and I fixed the cover for my cast. But I am pooped, and there is lemon zest, bran and poppyseed all over my kitchen floor.
Update since Saturday …my company didn’t end up coming, so we get to eat the poppyseed loaf and share the cookies at our prayer gathering on Sunday evening. In my opinion, the recipe needs more lemon juice…and zest…and is a bit dry, so I need to be more careful about the oven temperature, if I decide I want to try this adventure again.