I had the first "meeting" for my cooking club last week. Even though several women had expressed interest and been asking when I'd be teaching how to cook, I was a bit apprehensive about how it would actually work out. (If I have learned anything in my time here, it is not to have any expectations for anything until it actually happens. May seem pessimistic, but it is just the reality of life in the developing world.) I picked a time and started spreading the word to come to my house on Monday afternoon. I said I would buy all of the supplies but asked each person to bring 100 Ariary (the equivalent of about 5 cents). This is the amount that most snacks such as doughnuts cost at the market, and I figured if everyone's used to chipping in, it might be more likely to continue even after I leave. Anyway, as the appointed hour approached I grew increasingly nervous. But, I actually had 7 women and 3 kids show up!
We made a modified version of pumpkin-yogurt cornbread. There's no pumpkin in my village, so I made a creative substitution of bananas. It worked out extremely well, but I imagine it would be even more delicious with pumpkin. I am jealous of all of you back home who will be able to make this for Thanksgiving dinner with the abundance of pumpkin around. (Or, if you want to pull a Kristen and substitute tropical fruit, I bet mangoes and/or pineapple would also be fun!) Here's the recipe:
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin (or creative substitution!)
2 Tbs. brown sugar (I put in heaping spoonfuls)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another. Gently fold in flour mixture until just moistened. Bake in a greased and floured baking pan for about 30 minutes or until done. (Sorry there's no actual temperature listed.) The recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. It makes a fairly small recipe so I suggest doubling it if you're making it for more than a couple people. Enjoy!
I'm heading up to the training village for the next two weeks for my mid-service conference. I'm very excited because I'll get to see a bunch of my friends that I haven't seen since last December! Hopefully I'll check back in in a couple of weeks.