We have discovered that Africa is a new world in many ways and cooking and foods are by no means any less of an adventure. The first time we went shopping we were hesitant to buy much of anything. We found lots of food but most of it did not sound like what we were used to so we had to get help from our friends to know what to buy. I still find the grocery store an adventure but I have decided to try something new every few trips to the store.
There are lots of things we can not buy or that are too expensive to have very often but there are lots of things to replace them or that are just different but good. The thing I missed most at first was corn tortillas, chiles and anything Mexican food, but I have gotten over it pretty much. We can buy flour tortillas for about a dollar a piece, so I make them. I make a lot of things from scratch out of necessity. I am sure glad that is something I have done before.
One of my most interesting experiences with making food was when I tried to make my first pie. I had been served pie but it was not what we called pie so I thought I would show some of our friends here what a "real" pie was like. Well I got a big dose of "humble pie" and a major shock. I used the recipe I always used at home with the above mentioned cake flour, white margarine, salt, egg, and vinegar. I made it like I usually do but them had to freeze it because I did not get a chance to use it. Some time latter I thawed out the dough, rolled it out and put it into a pie pan (Which are nearly impossible to find here), pocked lots of holes in it and put it in the oven. Boy you can imagine my surprise when I looked into the oven and found this inside
I could not believe my beautiful pie had turned into a big, fat, flat disk of dough. I tried again only to have a second flat disk with a slight edge around it. I was shocked to say the least and a lot more humbled. I figured maybe it was not so easy to make pies in South Africa.
I changed my recipe to Carol's eggless recipe that uses butter instead of shortening and added a little bread flour to give it some bulk and believe it or not it worked.