Our one little grocery store in Chipata doesn't carry any brownie mixes, frozen peas, vacuum-sealed salmon, or sacks of pre-washed spinach.
["Well then, what the hell do they sell?" you may be wondering. Answer: a little food (whole food), several entire aisles of cleaning supplies, and a lot of plastic containers to keep vermin out of your mealie meal.]
This lack of packaged food means I've gotten a crash course in cooking from scratch. Thank god for Better Homes & Gardens and the hippie cookbooks; have you noticed that magazine dessert recipes all include a cake mix? The hippies know that you're starting out with a sack of wheat berries and some raw honey.
I was proud of myself last night when we produced falafel (courtesy of a box from my mom) with homemade cucumber sauce (the yogurt part was drained fermented milk; they do sell yogurt here but all I have is mango flavored) and hummus featuring beans smashed with a potato masher. Chunky hummus! D- for texture, B+ for taste. Hummus is one recipe the hippie cookbooks don't know; anybody out there have a great recipe (that ideally only includes things I can buy in Zambia)?