Dinner for 40?

photo taken by friend Ity

In Mozambique all our deminers, supervisors, drivers, medics…and me…lived in a camp. Most of the minefields were fairly ‘out in the bush’ so apart from the dried fish and live chickens which are bought in town and put squawking and flapping into the back of my landrover, most of the food is ‘dry’…HUGE sacks of rice, beans, maize flour (for xhima!), spaghetti.

Bearing in mind Mozambicans can eat for Africa, our ‘larder’ ends up bulging at the start of the month and the journey to the minefield is normally spent for those in the backs of the trucks squashed between sacks of rice under their feet and vats of cooking oil precariously balanced around them.

Our guys work hard in the minefield and work up monster appetites so it is the VERY important job of the local cook to keep their bellies full!

But imagine having to cook for 40 ravenous men on hot coals over what is basically a tiny rudimentary barbecue! There’s no mod cons cookers out in the bush.

I bet even Jamie Oliver wouldn’t know where to start!

The cook is up at dawn to get breakfast on the go, as soon as that is done lunch gets going and while the deminers eat lunch, dinner is underway!

Here’s a typical menu…

Breakfast; fried egg sandwich…fry an egg by swimming it in oil. Tear open a slightly stale bread roll. Stick egg in roll. Et voila!

Lunch; HUGE pile of xhima or rice, dried fish or goat / chicken stew

Dinner; see lunch!

The photos show a cook in his ‘kitchen’ with 2 enormous pots on the go…and that’s just the rice! It’s quite a sight to see these boys in action!


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