Comfort (and Other) Food in Burundi

This is the first of several blogs on comfort foods in the African countries in which I have lived:  Burundi, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt.
This morning I made one of my favorite comfort foods, which is a combination of Burundi and the American South.  It is cornmeal with cheese cooked in it, and a Maggi cube first dissolved in the water.  Delicious, in times of illness, stress, or general malaise.

The cornmeal aspect is the basis of ‘pate’ – Burundian thick porridge that is eaten with a vegetable or meat sauce. The addition of cheese instead of a sauce is very American South (at least, in my family).  The Maggi cube is my own addition, giving it a good spicy taste.  I cook it in the micro, which is easy and fast.

Other comfort foods in Burundi include – for those with a little money – a goat brochette in the evening, preferably with a beer:

A goat brochette and an Amstel beer at the village cabaret - weekend comfort food. Kindel to the right, and cover on beer due to flys.

Children love a sweet potato that has been baked in the ashes of a fire.  And red beans with rice is a ‘must eat’ for most Burundians, usually as a main meal but any time.

Working boys having a rice and beans lunch (they are not poor, they've been working in the field)

It is common to eat leftovers in the morning, especially as warming up food takes fuel and therefore money.  Also, because of a lack of refrigeration.

How about urban Burundians who frequent cafes for breakfast on the weekend?  Here, we find a fascinating mix of Western and Burundian dishes: large glasses of milk or yoghurt, bowls of soup, and dishes loaded with some form of vegetable, especially peas or spinach/greens with pan-fried potatoes and sausages.

Good after-jogging breakfast, with stewed green bananas, sausages, bacon, and stewed peas with tomatoes and onions.

These weekend breakfasts are usually a long affair with family and friends, often after a healthy jog (Burundians are fond of group jogging on Sunday mornings, and during the jog the group sings).

Sunday morning jogging group, which are found all over the city and the country.

Fruit is also very much appreciated.  And while a variety of pastries may be available, they are generally ignored in favor of plantains or green bananas, beans, and/or potatoes.

Over 10 kinds of fresh pastries - eat as many as you would like! And ask for an omelette or fried eggs, and various dishes from the bain marie (beans, greens, sausages, etc)

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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Cuisine, Food, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Living here. Bookmark the permalink.

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