Sorry “my kids” if you are reading this and get grossed out, but it’s a great story and must be told!
I learned something of vital importance in the “kitchen” in Zambia. If I learned nothing else, this was key. It’s one part oats or rice to two parts water! Didn’t know that before I went! Anyhow, this story is about Oatmeal!
I love oatmeal. You’ve already been given the TMI recipe for “baked oatmeal” in a previous posting. Love that stuff. But I like regular old boiled oatmeal, too. I like the gooey brownish gray stuff that you should never let dry on anything because it’s stronger than superglue. Oatmeal was easy to make, very filling, relatively inexpensive, felt good to eat steaming hot on a freezing morning, and, I hoped, would be a favorite of “my kids”. It was.
Abner had brought a number of boxes of his favorite oatmeal with him in his duffel bag. Some of the boxes broke on the way over, so he donated the loose oats to the food cause. We just dumped them out of the bottom of his bag into ziplocks. We had to pick out some lint and such, but it cooked up great. We bought more oats at the Shoprite. Every time we bought oats it would be a different brand. Whatever they had. My favorites were the Tiger Brand Jungle Oats. (Wow, the stuff you find online is amazing! I thought I might never see this familiar box ever again!)
The first time we bought oats we had to buy the Shoprite brand. I boiled up a big pot of water and poured the oats in. A few minutes later Abner approached me trying hard to keep from busting a gut with laughter. “We need to hurry and you need to help me!” He dragged me over to the oats that he had gone to stir for me and showed me all these weevilly things floating to the surface! GUH-ROSS! It had been so dark when I measured the oats I didn’t see any critters in them! We frantically scooped and scooped. We had to get them all out before the mass thickened so much that the bugs would get trapped in it instead of floating to the top of it. AND we had to try to do it without the kids catching wind of it! Ultimately, we were VERY successful in both getting all the weevils out AND in keeping it from the kids (until now, that is!). We were smug.
But we leaders all LOST it when one of our girls, Allie, let out a stifled scream. We thought we were in trouble. We thought we’d failed in our deweevilling attempts. But no. It seems some other sort of bug found its way into Allie’s tea and startled her. We’d only been in Zambia for a short time (we were at our first Rescue Unit in Chiwala) and hadn’t become completely desensitized yet. She came over and begged for permission to be able to throw that tea away as she just couldn’t drink something that had had bugs in it. I practically gagged on my laughter, and gave her permission to do so. She returned to her seat and ate the rest of her breakfast oatmeal (seconds, too!) without incident!
You do what you gotta do! I ate it, too, and I KNEW what had been in it!
(Second vital lesson learned – - be careful when preparing food in the dark in Africa!)
Abner and I laughed so much this past summer. I miss laughing with him. And I am SO excited because I get to see him next week! The last time I saw him was at the Lusaka International Airport back in August. We’ll be getting together somewhere between San Diego and Los Angeles, but wherever it is, I’m sure we’ll be cracking up!
I get a fair amount of traffic to this post through various search engines. People are looking for how to make oatmeal. I guess this post doesn’t really go into that, does it?? So, oatmeal is wicked easy to make. The recipe is one part oatmeal to two parts water! (So, that would be like one cup of oatmeal to two cups of water). You boil the water. I add a little bit of salt to the water. Then you add the oatmeal, stir it frequently until it’s done! You can add less oatmeal for a looser end product. See! EASY! The recipe is the same for quick cook oats, or traditional oats. You just cook traditional oats longer.