The Friday Five: Comfort Foods

image I have to admit it. I've been needing a break from the basic Kenyan staples of ugali, fried greens, rice, chapati and soda. I will always have gratitude for the hospitality and kindness that comes in the form of these foods, but every now and then I need an escape. Luckily, our guesthouse kitchen is equipped with the equivalent of an easy-bake oven and a Coleman camping stove, which is sufficient for making some American comfort foods while still living in the village.

Here are five comfort foods I have enjoyed making and eating while in Lwala:

1. Pam's Pancakes

image copy

My colleague, Pamela Crane, made these for me in Rwanda last summer, and they are A-MAZING. Whole wheat flour, oats, bananas, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. They've been a guesthouse hit on Sunday mornings.

2. Breakfast Potatoes

image copy 2

Potatoes and onions from the market. Green peppers from the community garden. Scramble some eggs on the side from the chicken coop outside our door. Yes please.

3. Mango Banana Oat Muffins


These muffins required extra patience due to the rainstorm that knocked the power out, but they were worth the wait. I mixed flour, oats, puréed mango, mashed bananas, baking powder, vanilla, sugar, eggs, oil and milk. And voila - sweet, fluffy muffins.

4. Carrot Cake

image copy 4

Last week, the garden was producing more carrots than we knew what to do with, so I experimented with making carrot cake. It's basically flour, sugar, eggs, sugar, some shredded carrots, and then, well, more sugar. And that's why it tastes so good.

5. Popcorn


My reputation precedes me here, and everywhere I turn, someone has made sure that my popcorn stash is full. Thank goodness! This is Teresa, our head nurse by day and popcorn supplier by night. She made four bins of popcorn for my birthday. It took a couple of days to eat through it, but don't worry - mission accomplished.

I'm curious, what are your favorite comfort foods?