I used to coordinate people to help new arrivals with orientation to life in Cameroon. The first things being not to drink the tap water, staying inside dusk to dawn to avoid mosquitoes and soaking produce in bleach water for 20 minutes before cutting into it to kill bacteria. Although I no longer coordinate orientation, I enjoy being asked to share food preparation with new arrivals during their Cameroon orientation course.
A few days ago I conducted a food preparation course for the new arrivals. I thought I would share some things I shared with the group that I would never have to share in my passport country.
Freeze the flour for a day to kill bugs and eggs in the flour, then sift out the bugs and use. Note: I find it almost like a game to sift flour because I’ve found an earring before.
Clean the coop stuff off of the chicken eggs before using them.
When cooking rice, don’t worry about trying to remove the bugs from the grains, just put them in the pot, add water and the bugs float to the top. Once they are floating use a small strainer and skim them off. Repeat until all bugs have been removed. Prepare the rice.
Cook all the eggs thoroughly – do not use raw egg – like in mayonnaise or a dressing, do not eat egg runny yolks or sunny side up eggs because of the risk of typhoid and salmonella.
Spices will clump into an unusable block if you don’t keep the humidity out.
I like to store bouillon cubes in the refrigerator to keep them from turning mushy and weeping out.
If you use a wooden cutting board, run it over an open flame to disinfect it before using it.
If you purchase bread on the street, run it over an open flame to kill any germs on the outside of the bread.
When going out to eat, do not get ice cubes with your beverage because more than likely the ice is made from tap water. Do not use cutlery, plates or glasses that aren’t completely dry. Stay away from uncooked produce.
Always keep an extra gas bottle so when the gas bottle runs out while you are cooking, you can continue cooking. It always seems to run out when you are hosting company.
If you are use to the imperial measuring system (1 cup, 8 oz., lbs., etc…), learn quickly the metric system (grams, kilos, etc…). Also learn the equivalent of centigrade to farenheit. This is important in cooking, taking someone’s temperature or dosing medications.
How to use a pressure cooker. Also, how to make caramel using a can of sweetened condensed milk and a pressure cooker.
I go on to explain how to constitute milk powder, make yogurt, make something like cottage cheese, making tomato sauce from tomato paste and more. It’s a two hour course, we cover a lot.