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Welcome to Our Kitchen

One of my favorite parts of having our own home (besides the privacy and stability) is the kitchen.


I’ve really had fun making the kitchen our own, cooking together, and I’ve been trying my hand at baking while Sam’s at work. The kitchen is one of the places in the house where differences in the processes are most prevalent. The kitchen is where we've had to do the most lifestyle adapting, is what I mean.


I’ve mixed relevant photos with some fun shots our friend Stephanie took of us making pancakes, so enjoy our little photoshoot as you read.


photo by: Stephanie Ernandes

Outlets and Appliances

The power in our house is 240 volts. We do have some wiring for 110 outlets which allow us to run some appliances using machines that convert the electricity to the correct voltage—I don’t understand it all very well, but simply put, we have outlets that are shaped differently and put out 240 volts and we have some outlets in the house that look like US plugs and put out 110 volts. What this means is that before we plug in or use an appliance we have to check the voltage so we know what outlet to use and then use an adaptor if necessary so that it can fit in the correct plug. We have things here that were made in Australia so they work without an adaptor, and we have things that were shipped from the U.S so they either have to be plugged into the "American Plug" or be used with an adaptor. Another thing that’s different here than in the US is that you have to turn on the outlet before it will work…this saves energy, but I’ve also totally left something in the toaster oven for several minutes before realizing the outlet was still off.



photo by: Stephanie Ernandes

Buying Food

We have two primary options for buying foodstuff here. Our community has a small store which is open from 8-4 on weekdays. We have more than I expected available to us, most is imported from Australia. While we may have a variety of options, we never know what will change week to week (I've been waiting to see cinnamon for over a month). We also have a market that comes to our community on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 6-8am. There are so many options for fresh, garden grown veggies and I always get so excited bringing home our haul from market.



You definitely have to plan ahead since the store is closed after normal work hours and on weekends. There are places to shop in towns over, but we haven’t made it out that far yet since we are still working on renewing registration for our vehicles.



Washing Veggies

When we get fruits and veggies here it is very important that we wash them correctly. Our bodies aren’t used to the things that grow and live in the soil here and we could get sick or get a parasite if we don’t prepare our food properly. Usually we fill the sink with bleach water and soak the produce in there by recommendation of the clinic here. Then we scrub them and rinse them with filtered rain water before putting them away or eating them. It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a little time consuming—making sure everything is cleaned correctly definitely makes the food prep process take a lot longer.




Also just another fun fact, we kinda sort of compost here---we personally don't have a garden (yet!), so we don't collect the compost. But in addition to the trashcan we have a green "slop bucket" (or for those who went through the Pacific Orientation Course as Sam has, the "pig bucket") where we put leftover food scraps which we dump in a covered hole in our yard every once in awhile. The primary purpose is to keep unwanted pests out of our garbage and home, but it is also better for the environment--Thanks, Armila (my Env. Science prof.).


Water

I’ve mentioned it before, but we get our water from two sources: rain from the roof and pumped from the river. River water is not really a good option for consumption. People use the river for; dishes, laundry, bathing, and even the bathroom. Rain water is much cleaner, but it can still pick up things from the rusty roof. To cover all our bases we filter any water we consume; drinking water, cooking water, and water we use to brush our teeth. We brought portable water filters, but our house came with a large stationary filter which we keep in the kitchen. It consists of two metal bucket compartments- the top is where you fill it and as it filters it flows into the bottom bucket which has a spigot where we can fill pots and pans, water bottles, pitchers or whatever. It’s definitely important to make sure we keep the top filled, but not to fill it too much or the bottom will overflow if we don’t use what is being filtered (read here for that story).


photo by: Stephanie Ernandes

We wash our dishes with soap and rainwater. We just make sure they are completely dry before we use them.



photo by: Stephanie Ernandes


Organizing

There’s one cabinet in our kitchen that I reserved for baking supplies. I admit, I went a little crazy with the label maker, but it was a fun project and it makes following recipes a lot simpler.



I’ve really enjoyed making new things, I’d kind of always had this perception that making bread was hard and labour intensive, which it can be, but it’s so much more achievable than I first thought. It’s been so much fun attempting new recipes and I have a list of breads I still want to try to make. So far we’ve made white bread, garlic and herb bread, pretzels/pretzel buns, banana bread, pizza crust, and corn tortillas.




Some other things we’ve attempted to make from scratch:

crepes, ginger ale, pancake mix, imitation Chick-Fil-A nuggets, spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pizza, fresh lemonade, and Sam’s specialty is coconut chicken curry. The things we put together are not extraordinary, but it’s been fun learning new recipes and trying to find creative ways to make things we usually just buy in the store. Our go to meals are stir fry type dishes because it’s so easy and so yummy to throw together a bunch of veggies from market and some meat and a different seasoning or sauce and viola!



I’ve never been much of a cook myself—I’ve always loved prepping for a meal; planning it out, gathering the ingredients, and attempting the recipe. I’ve just never really spent a lot of time trying to cook food. Dorm living isn’t the most conducive to planning and cooking meals (and neither was my wallet), and our lifestyle after marriage also made cooking difficult because of all the travel and transition. But now we are settled and the kitchen is a whole new place to me—It’s fun and exciting—still a challenge at times because of the new and also limited ingredients.


I’d love to hear some of your favorite/go to simple recipes!

Send them to me at jessica_nutter@wycliffe.org, I’d love to try your favorites.

1 Comment


w4hdm
Sep 19, 2019

You are becoming quite the chef! Love the photos!

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