Table manners


Yesterday I got to try the famous nshima, a sort of sticky porridge made from maize that Zambians eat with everything, all the time. It looks like a cross betwen mashed potato and a white bread roll. Tastes ok, sort of reminds me a bit of baby rice but not as sweet. But the tricky bit is that you use your hands: you take a piece in your fingers and then sort of squidge it and then use it to scoop up the rest of your food. Well, I tried. Made a mess and a complete fool of myself; gave up when all my fingers were covered in food and everyone else had cleared their plates.

Being veggie hasn’t been too hard, we eat quite simply in the house anyway (pasta, rice, beans) and I’ve had really nice food when we go out to meetings, which tend to take place in hotels.

They don’t have our ‘munch culture’ here though, you don’t see people wandering around with cups of coffee, packets of biscuits on desks, bars of choc in drawers (too hot for choc anyway). I’ve explained that I’m a chronic tea drinker, and they just seem to think it’s quite funny. (A lot of what I do seems to be quite funny.) Went to make myself a cuppa this morning, quick look in the fridge – good, still some milk left that I brought in the other day. Made tea, went to get said milk from fridge, and instead found cottage cheese – or whatever milk turns into when it’s 35 degrees outside.

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