Tuna Casserole is THEEE most disgusting meal known to mankind. I’ve eaten a lot of “different” foods in my life, but still to this day I have a huge hatred towards tuna casserole… or what was passed off as casserole while I was living in Namibia.
Since the orphanage operated off donations and volunteers, funds were tight and meals were far from glamorous to say the least. The meal schedule was repeated on a weekly basis and every Wednesday for lunch was supposed to be tuna casserole, but what was served in those well used metal bowls was so far from anything recognizable its pathetic. The volunteer who was “cooking” while I was there (bless her heart) sucked at her job. She was a wonderful girl from the Netherlands and honestly tried her best, but the slop she produced on Wednesday at lunch led me to a weekly fast. Like for real, how is it possible to destroy something so hard it was no longer recognizable? The noodles were way overcooked and mashed to a pulp, and I didn’t know that much salt existed in the world. Also, who in the world puts a whole jar of MUSTARD in tuna casserole? Like for real? Needless to say, I have avoided anything that might remotely resemble tuna casserole since.
While there, I also ate Boa Constrictor for the first time. Who am I kidding, it wasn’t the first time, it was the only time. My good Aussie friend F, took me out to a fancy meal in downtown Windhoek one of my last nights there, and we did it up Namibian style. Ordered all the best local cuisine, which of course consisted of Boa. Delicious. OK you know how people relate most new foods to chicken? Legit. Boa tastes like chicken, but even better if possible. Think pure tender meat, no fat, mouth-watering amazingness. Like chicken on steroids….Or chicken unaffected by steroids, your choice.
Not delicious though? Chicken in Kenya. Now hear me out, sometimes it was pretty standard, everyday chicken right. But, sometimes, I was invited into someone’s house for tea or a visit, and they would insist I stay to eat. Then, unbeknownst to me, they would slaughter a hen fresh from the yard, and cook it on the spot for me. This was to show how much they appreciated me being a visitor in their home, and how much they respect me. OK, I totally value that, and I’m 100% thankful for their act of appreciation. What I wasn’t so thankful for? The fact that when they cook the chicken, they normally boil it complete with head/feet as well, then when they serve it up, they would insist that I get those two pieces. Wow, thanks? Here I am just wanting a good ol fashioned chicken breast please. Give me the dry chewy chicken with ugali and sukuma wiki and I’ll be fine. But nope, they want to serve me “most desirable” head and feet. And I don’t even know where to start. Seriously? Is there even actual edible meat on the feet? And don’t get me started on the head. There’s two damn eyes and a beak on that thing! Nope. I couldn’t do it. No matter how many times I was served that “fresh chicken” I couldn’t bring myself to put those portions in my mouth. I would end up slipping it to a kid standing nearby, waiting with bated breath. They were always so excited to get the coveted item they would quickly sneak it outside and I knew they wouldn’t rat me out, since they got to enjoy it. So at least it was off my plate, I didn’t have to eat it, yet someone enjoyed it, I figured it was a win win situation right?
Another disgusting Kenyan cuisine? Goat. I just gagged a little in my mouth. Every time goat was served I just wanted a simple plain old piece of bread instead. But NOOOOO. I was apparently super lucky to be having goat, and I should savour every bite. My first time trying it was Christmas 2010. E, little E and I took the 12 hour bus ride on the literal worst roads in history of roads and arrived at my in-laws to celebrate the holiday. It was also my first time meeting many of my in-laws so that was stressful in and of itself, but focusing on the food… E’s family and friends came from all over the country to celebrate with us since many wanted to meet myself and little E. It was decided they would slaughter the goat the morning of the 25th. The WHOLE day, it smelled like goat you couldn’t escape it. First, they roasted some of it. Fine. Then they boiled most of the rest. For hours upon hours, until it didn’t even resemble food any more. Lets just say Kenyans are not really known for their amazing cooking. Like when was the last time you heard anyone say let’s go check out that amazing Kenyan restaurant, I heard its great? Never. Because they don’t exist. But their coffee/tea? Off the charts!
Another thing I tried there was locusts. They were ok I guess. It was mainly about me getting over my fear of sticking a living breathing bug in my mouth and chewing it up, but I did! Yeah me! The kids convinced me they were so delicious, and it was hard not to believe them, since they were running around like crazy trying to catch as many as they could to shove them in their mouths. So I joined in the fun. I caught one of my own and shoved it in live and wiggling, amidst the squeals of delight from all the children. It was so bizarre, how it fluttered around inside my mouth a couple of times before I had the courage to bite down and swallow quickly.
But, at least now I can say I did it. Can say? Is that an achievement? Oh well, I did it. And it tasted a million times better than tuna casserole.
-Alice Cooper/Eat Some More-